Home Health News The CDC Put Ticks On A Poppy Seed Muffin And People Are Not Happy

The CDC Put Ticks On A Poppy Seed Muffin And People Are Not Happy

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Last week, the CDC tweeted a photo of what appears to be a regular poppy seed muffin — but it’s not, because some of those poppy seeds are actually ticks… yes, TICKS.

Ticks can be the size of a poppy seed. Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo? Learn how to prevent tick bites. https://t.co/ATtrY7YFoS https://t.co/gBm4tw2qmf

08:30 PM – 04 May 2018

Poppy seed muffins are unarguably one of America’s favorite baked goods. They’re simple, tasty, and always a safe choice at the continental breakfast buffet. But now, you might not want to go near another poppy seed muffin for as long as you live, thanks to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On May 4, the CDC tweeted a photo of a poppy seed muffin with the following message: “Ticks can be the size of a poppy seed. Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo?” and a link to a tick bite prevention factsheet. It has now been shared over 1,500 times and caused quite the controversy on the internet, for obvious reasons.

The tweet was posted shortly after CDC published a report on the increase of tick-, flea-, and mosquito-borne illnesses in the US. The tiny arachnids can spread a number of serious and life-threatening diseases to humans, including Lyme disease and the Powassan virus, especially during the warmer months in the Northeast and Midwest regions.

Here are the five ticks just in case you couldn’t spot them in the photo. They’re the poppy seeds with legs.


CDC / Via Twitter: @CDCgov

I have so many questions for the CDC. Where did you get the ticks? Are they dead? Where did you get the muffin? What did you do with it afterwards? Why would you do this?

The most disappointing part is the ticks aren’t even that hard to spot because they are all clustered together in one spot of the muffin top. If you’re going to post a tick-spotting exercise that ruins one of America’s favorite breakfast pastries, at least make it a little more challenging.

The CDC might’ve been trying to show that ticks are small and easy to miss, but their use of a muffin to illustrate this point just ended up grossing everyone out.


Converse / Via giphy.com

The photo was clearly intended to educate people about spotting ticks so they could prevent bites and reduce their risk of infection with tick-borne illnesses. However, most people missed the point because, well, one of the best muffins is now ruined and it’s impossible to look at poppy seeds without thinking of bugs.

Seriously, people are not happy about the tick muffin. Here are some of the replies to the CDC’s original tweet:

Several days later, the CDC followed up with an apology tweet: “Sorry we ticked some of you off!”

Sorry we ticked some of you off! Don't let a tick bite ruin your summer. Protect yourself: https://t.co/zT2cMR2kKW.

04:08 PM – 07 May 2018

Still, it doesn’t change the fact that poppy seed muffins, breads, bagels, and buns are ruined forever.

Caroline Kee is a health reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Caroline Kee at caroline.kee@buzzfeed.com.

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