The Brief:

The Shell-On Challenge involves biting into food that is still in its shell, peel, or wrapping. There is some debate about whether this is a harmless meme or dangerous epidemic. 

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DEEP DIVE

What Is The Shell-On Challenge?

This is an internet challenge in which participants film themselves biting into eggs with their shell on, fruit with its peel, or food in its packaging. Posts featuring this challenge may be tagged #ShellChallenge or #ShellOnChallenge.

The Shell-On Challenge inspired a Snapchat filter and a public story that compiled videos of people participating in the challenge.

It seems that this trend’s popularity comes from its shock-value and the slapstick humor of watching someone bite into food “with its shell.”

Is It Dangerous?

While there could be issues with choking hazards and upset stomachs, the Shell-On Challenge does not seem to pose a` major risk to participants. Most videos don’t actually show people swallowing the food or its “shell” and some even show people immediately spitting it back out. We do not recommend that people try foods with the “shell on” either out of curiosity or a desire for internet notoriety. However, this internet challenge does not appear to be a serious health risk, especially because it seems that participants are wise enough not to try to swallow inedible objects.

Much like the Tide Pod Challenge, anxiety about this trend is being blown out of proportion. No, it is not a good idea to swallow an orange peel or plastic wrapper, but there is little to no evidence that people are actually doing so for the sake of this internet meme.

Although the potential dangers of the Shell-On Challenge have been covered by several major news outlets including the New York Post, the scope of the challenge itself is relatively narrow. At the time of writing, on Instagram, ten posts have been tagged with the hashtag #ShellOnChallenge and on TikTok, only one video has been tagged to reference the challenge. It appears that the Shell-On Challenge filter has been removed from Snapchat and searches on other social media platforms brought up only a few videos featuring the challenge. Stories about the potential dangers of the challenge are not baseless but may be blowing a niche joke out of proportion as a public health risk.

Shell-On Challenge Memes

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