A TikTok creator’s homemade pickles have sparked an online conversation about food safety

The recent apology from a TikTok creator after people accused her of improperly packaging her homemade pickled goods before selling them online has sparked a debate about influencers and whether they should be allowed to promote and sell homemade foods on the app. .

PickleMeEverything, which did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment, posted a video on December 23 in response to bubbly criticism online that accused it of defying one of California’s food safety laws by launching its products on marinade.

«I want to apologize to everyone. I’m so sorry for all this. It just happened so fast,» he said in your video. He said that he is reimbursing everyone’s orders and that he recently rented a commercial kitchen. «I’m working to get all the licenses, the permits, whatever I need to do,» she said.

While people buying homemade groceries from private citizens near them aren’t new, food safety experts who spoke to NBC News said they’re concerned about how social media has made it significantly easier to buy and sell these items more easily. more espacious.

And people are so willing to order food without really understanding what has been done to make that food.

— Britanny Saunier, executive director of the Association for Food Safety Education

Social media creates «excitement» around homemade products, said Britanny Saunier, executive director of the nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety Education.

“And people are so willing to order food without really understanding what has been done to make that food,” he said.

The backlash towards PickleMeEverything products comes several months after another viral product raised suspicions over similar food safety fears. TikToker Chef Pii was asked about the safety surrounding his viral homemade sauce, «pink sauce.» However, Dave’s Gourmet has since announced a partnership with the sauce’s creator.

PickleMeEverything’s products came under scrutiny for the first time after food nutrition TikToker food science babe made a video last week criticizing the creator, saying she was improperly packaging her pickles.

In her video, which has garnered more than 1.3 million views, Food Science Babe responds to a now-deleted video made by PickleMeEverything in which she talks about how her products can have «minor leaks» since they are «hand-sealed, not under pressure». seared, not pressure cooked…nothing involved.”

Food Science Babe did not immediately respond to an interview request.

«Not only are you clearly not canning them correctly, but pickled and canned foods are not even allowed under California home law.» Food Science Babe said in her video. cabin lawsthat allow residents to sell certain foods prepared in the kitchen of a private home, vary from state to state.

Food Science Babe said it had reported PickleMeEverything to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declined to comment, referring NBC News to state laws.

Low-acid or acidified foods are prohibited by household law due to the risk of botulism, according to the California Department of Public Health. Canning these foods reduces the oxygen level in the process, making it the ideal condition for Clostridium botulinum.

Less than 5 out of 100 people with botulism die, and 110 cases are reported annually in the US on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many who survive the disease, which attacks the body’s nerves, suffer from fatigue and shortness of breath for years.

the cdc Dear that «48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses each year in the United States.»

Darin Detwiler, director of the Master of Science in Northeastern University’s Food and Food Industry Regulatory Affairs program, said PickleMeEverything could face serious legal repercussions.

“She literally set herself up to be sued, not by the state of California, but by individuals for breaking laws,” said Detwiler, who also served as a regulatory policy adviser for the US Department of Agriculture.

He said he’s concerned about the growing number of TikTokers who don’t know about or use food safety while promoting food products.

Food Science Babe pointed out in her video that several popular creators had endorsed PickleMeEverything products.

Food critic Keith Lee, who has more than 5 million followers on TikTok, is among the creators who have apologized to their viewers for posting videos praising pickles.

“I want to take this moment to say that I take full responsibility and apologize for not doing my research like I usually do,” Lee he said in his video In the past week. He deleted his original review.

TikToker Ophelia Nichols, who has more than 10 million followers, also managed the video of your review.

“I tried those pickles and made a video about them because they were so good,” he said in his video.

While Nichols had no problems with his package, he said it had come to his attention that there might be «evidence that the jars were not sealed properly.»

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“As creators, when they send us something like this, they assure us, ‘Hey, this is safe for you to try, therefore it’s safe for everyone else to try,’” he said. “We put our faith in that company.”

Nichols said she reached out to PickleMeEverything and was assured that everything had been done safely. However, she said that she removed the original video of her until «further notice.»

Neither Nichols nor Lee immediately responded to requests for further comment.

Saunier said he doesn’t believe the improper packaging of PickleMeEverything was done maliciously. But he said that doesn’t mean the products are potentially unsafe for people to consume.

“I think people mean well,” he said. “You have a great idea, maybe you have a recipe that your community or immediate family loves and tells them to package it up and sell it. They do it to perhaps grow their own business or start a new career without realizing all the necessary steps that must be taken under food safety laws. And I think that’s part of the problem.»

On Tuesday, PickleMeEverything posted his first video from the apology In it, he shows off her new commercial kitchen space.

In her caption, she expressed her gratitude to her followers for their patience, saying she’s «working hard to get back up and running.»

In the comments section of the TikTok video, several people continued to question the production process for PickleMeEverything.

“You have to make sure you get the proper license,” wrote one commenter.

“You need to find a packaging partner that meets the licensing requirements before this type of commitment,” another viewer added.

But others came to PickleMeEverything’s defense, calling its efforts a comeback.

“Once it’s up and running I’ll order,” one user wrote in the comments. «This is what it’s all about, leveling up from the lessons!»

Many also wrote in the comments that they hope to order and support a small business.

One user simply went to the comments section to suggest that the whole test «is literally the pink sauce all over again.»

Since Wednesday, PickleMeEverything website storefront did not list any products for sale.