The Brief: Memes about eating laundry pods joke about how the poisonous packets of detergent look like candy.
Tide pods and other similar laundry detergent pod products are recognizable due to their bright colors and small size. As they look somewhat like candy, in some instances, children and adults have accidentally eaten them.
Memes about Tide pods as a forbidden fruit or tempting snack joke about the packets’ candy-like appearance and about how they are extra enticing since they are off-limits.
The “Tide Pod Challenge” is a largely farcical internet trend of adults and teenagers challenging each other to consume the pods. Although to many, the #TidePodChallenge is just a joke, actually eating the pods is no joke.
The proliferation of this meme and so-called-challenge has caused Tide, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, and news outlets to spread the word that detergent pods should not be consumed under any circumstances, as they contain harmful chemicals that can cause serious reactions including death. It is unclear exactly to what extent that detergent pod consumption is a public safety concern. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, over 12,000 calls were made to poison control in 2017 about exposure to laundry pods.
Just to clarify, DO NOT eat detergent pods, but do go ahead and enjoy these memes:
no more eating xanax in 2018 we eating tide pods from now on
— alex (@mineifiwildout) December 9, 2017
Tide Debuts New Sour Apple Detergent Pods https://t.co/jgWhUAAehJ pic.twitter.com/fQl3OlxEao
— The Onion (@TheOnion) July 11, 2017