NyQuil chicken may have been a shitpost that never died, occasionally popping up online, but the FDA warning sent searches for it on TikTok skyrocketing into the thousands, a spokesperson has confirmed.
According to data a TikTok spokesperson sent to BuzzFeed News, there were only five searches for NyQuil chicken content on the app on Sept. 14, one day before the FDA posted its statement. By Sept. 21, there were 1,400 times as many searches on the topic, with around 7,000 searches recorded.
What was once just a revolting 4chan in-joke about cooking raw meat in cold medicine became a Twitter trend after the federal agency posted a news release on its official website Sept. 15 declaring the "challenge" unsafe.
An FDA spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that it shared the NyQuil chicken post after observing "social media trends promoting dangerous misuse of medications," but did not provide any examples of said trends.
In January 2022, a few videos about the concoction sparked news coverage, but they never noticed a trend. A TikTok spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that searches for “NyQuil chicken” on the app have been since redirected to a warning about viral challenges.
The FDA has only posted a lengthy statement about a viral challenge once before, addressing the deadly Benadryl challenge that first appeared on TikTok in 2020. It was mentioned again in the FDA's viral chicken post.
There have been no reported deaths or illnesses from NyQuil chicken so far.