Watch It Melt/YouTube

Tide Pods: the forbidden fruit.

Tide Pods look like candy, but they are not candy. They are little capsules of laundry detergent. Eating them is a bad idea! Despite this, “eating Tide Pods” is the biggest meme on the internet as 2017 gives way to 2018.

The meme has its genesis in real-life incidents of kids (and, more commonly, adults with dementia) dying after eating the pods.

The joke about the pods looking irresistibly tasty has been around as long as the pods themselves. In 2015, the Onion published a parody article titled, “So Help Me God, I’m Going to Eat One of Those Multicolored Detergent Pods.”

With their knack for transmuting tragedy into bizarro comedy, memes are the perfect medium to make Tide Pods looking like a snack into a joke. And that’s exactly what has happened. Everyone is pretending Tide Pods are delicious.

tide pods forbidden fruit hq quiz meme poisonouspanacea/Reddit

gordon ramsay tide pod meme gb4370/Reddit

tide pod lunch meme gb4370/Reddit

It’s not clear why this meme blew up in December 2017, but it may have been this Dec. 9 tweet by mineifiwildout.

Tide Pod mania has now taken over both Reddit and Twitter.

Even celebrities are doing it. Halsey, known for her vocals on the ubiquitous Chainsmokers song “Closer,” is getting “closer” to eating some Tide Pods all the time.

And someone even tried to get Gushers—the goo-filled fruit snack brand that comes to mind for many when they see laundry pods—to make a Tide Pod fruit snack. They got blocked on Twitter for their trouble, but the attempt is legendary:

Tide Pods may look delicious, and they may be the forbidden fruit. People may even be cooking them as a joke. But don’t eat them, okay? They probably taste disgusting, and they’re also potentially deadly. Meanwhile, Tide announced earlier this year that it’s working on tougher packaging and more prominent warning labels to prevent people from treating its detergent as a snack.

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway is a senior writer, specializing in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.

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