- Fruit Roll-Ups had to step in and warn TikTokers not to eat plastic liners following a viral trend.
- Some users froze the candy and appeared to consume the products whole, plastic lining included.
- Fruit Roll-Ups confirmed plastic does not freeze and fans should not eat it.
After going viral on TikTok earlier this month, the company behind the beloved childhood snack Fruit Roll-Ups was compelled to post a PSA reminding users to please not consume the plastic lining in the product.
In March, a TikTok trend emerged in which users wrapped ice cream in Fruit Roll-Ups and froze the combination to create a sandwich-style snack that has a satisfying, ASMR crunch. That trend evolved into some users simply freezing Fruit Roll-Ups (seemingly without unrolling them) and eating the product whole.
But, as anyone who’s eaten a Fruit Roll-Up knows, there is a thin layer of plastic inside that’s intended to be removed when it’s unrolled. This led some users to express concern that people were inadvertently eating the plastic when it was frozen, as creators could be seen biting straight into the unrolled product.
Others wondered if they were witnessing a “Mandela effect,” a phenomenon in which a group shares false memories (like the belief that Mr. Monopoly wore a monocle; he didn’t), and the candy never included plastic liners. But some creators doubled down, either assuring their viewers that there was no plastic in their Fruit Roll-Ups or though there was plastic, that “it doesn’t really matter because it’s so crunchy.” One video by a user who goes by @hollyberry09 insisting that her products didn’t come with plastic racked up more than 5 million views.
Now, as Fruit Roll-Ups has confirmed in a TikTok comment that plastic does not freeze, the prevailing conclusion is that the Great Fruit Roll-Up Mystery was simply a hoax (as the creator who previously told viewers the plastic “doesn’t really matter” has since stated) and possibly a rage-bait for views or, more generously, some combination of an early April Fools joke and a singular defective box without plastic liners.
Fruit Roll-Ups entered the chat
On March 21, Insider reached out to General Mills, Fruit Roll-Ups’ manufacturer, for comment. Later that day, Fruit Roll-Ups’ official TikTok account stitched @hollyberry09’s viral video insisting there was no visible plastic in her frozen product, adding the caption, “Legal is making me clarify that you should not attempt to eat plastic.”
In the clip posted by the brand, a woman takes a Fruit Roll-Up out of a freezer, opens it, and demonstrates that there is indeed a plastic liner that cannot be bitten through.
“The food scientists had to promise me the plastic does not freeze,” the account commented.
Now, the prevailing opinion is that users who appeared to eat plastic unwrapped their Fruit Roll-Ups, removed the plastic, re-wrapped them, froze them, and pretended to eat plastic “for views.”
“It was supposed to be an April Fools joke,” TikToker Donnie Mays, who’d filmed himself appearing to eat plastic, wrote in the comments, “but someone else gave it away before I could keep it secret that long!”
Creator @hollyberry09 continued to insist in a March 21 TikTok that her box of Fruit Roll-Ups came plastic liner-free. The creator did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
“Maybe you just found the Willy Wonka golden ticket box and nobody told me about the competition,” Fruit Roll-Ups commented.
Everyone agrees no one should eat the plastic liner that comes with Fruit Roll-Ups
“While consumers can enjoy Fruit Roll-Ups in many fun ways, including frozen, they should always remove the plastic wrap before freezing or consuming the product,” a General Mills spokesperson wrote Insider via email on March 22.
Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist and interim executive director of the National Capital Poison Center, told Insider that plastic liners — like the ones included in Fruit Roll-Ups — may contain chemicals associated with unwanted health effects.
“Highly flexible and moldable plastic items, including candy wrappers and Fruit Roll-Up liners, contain higher levels of phthalates than less flexible plastic pieces,” Johnson-Arbor said. She explained that when chemicals known as phthalates, which are used to manufacture plastic, enter the human body, they are broken down into other chemicals that may have adverse effects on hormonal function, weight, and brain development.
“Phthalates are also associated with fertility problems in both men and women. Phthalates can cross the placenta and therefore may affect fetal development as well,” she added.
General Mills did not immediately respond to Insider’s request to clarify how their plastic wrappers are manufactured, but Johnson-Arbor said that often non-stick plastic uses PFAS compounds, a group of chemicals that make products water- and stain-resistant or to create non-stick surfaces, like non-stick cookware. “PFAS exposure is associated with the development of multiple human health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and cancer,” Johnson-Arbor told Insider.
Various users who froze their own Fruit Roll-Ups to debunk the hoax, like TikTok influencer Noah Glenn Carter, encountered a clearly non-frozen plastic liner. Still, Johnson-Arbor recommends being wary of these trends from the outset: “Social media content creators may not fully understand the potential dangers of these trends or the unwanted health consequences that could occur in individuals who take part in them,” she said.