This Viral Photo Of A "Poppy Seed" Muffin Has Twitter So Grossed Out For One Reason

by Julia Guerra

Riddle me this: How do you get a millennial's attention? Through a social media scandal, of course. A successful shock factor on the internet takes hard work and careful character consideration, but if you don’t have time for all that, a quick upload of a pastry sprinkled with love and disease-carrying critters should do the trick. In case you haven’t had the chance to scroll through your Twitter feed this morning, let me save you a trip: The CDC’s tweet of a poppy seed muffin covered in ticks has everyone freaking out, and even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meant well, Twitter's insisting you really shouldn’t mess with America’s favorite muffin.

Remember back in February of 2015, when a Scottish bride and groom couldn’t decide if a dress from the UK shop Roman was blue and black, or white and gold, so they uploaded a photo to Tumblr and the entire internet lost its sh*t? The CDC’s poppy seed muffin faux-pas is kind of like that, only in this case, you're not going to see World War III go down over the location of the ticks on this muffin; that mystery has already been solved (and TBH, I don't think it was that difficult of a challenge, but that's just me).

So here's what happened: The CDC posted this tweet on May 4 as a nod to Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and while the whole thing may have felt like a random, albeit gross addition to your social feed, I’m sure a lot of thought went into the photo. If I had to guess, I don't think it was meant to freak any of you out, and it certainly wasn’t a public display of the CDC’s vendetta against the poppy seed muffin industry. Rather, it was just a clever way to get your attention, and say what you want, but it totally worked.

See, the problem here isn’t the message behind the image. I think we can all agree Lyme disease is something that deserves some attention, and the CDC should absolutely continue to raise awareness for the illness. No, friends, the issue here is the way the information was presented to us, and the fact that a sacred poppy seed muffin was clearly harmed in the making of this tweet.

Twitter is so grossed out by the poppy seed muffin covered in ticks, and honestly, same.

Hopefully it was one poppy seed muffin, and only one poppy seed muffin, that had to be sacrificed.

It really makes you wonder how many times you might have mistaken insects for seeds, doesn't it?

Judging from the general consensus, you'd probably get a lot of signatures if you're petitioning.

I'd break out the magnifying glass before taking that first bite, if I were you.

Take a deep breath, friend. It's all going to be OK.

Well, distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Now there's a narrative!

Don't be silly, friend — just be super careful and check your pastry for ticks. Problem solved.

It was definitely a strange approach, but the poppy seed muffin covered with ticks was basically a PSA for Lyme disease awareness.

Lyme disease, if you’re unfamiliar with the illness, is a bacterial infection that, according to, is transmitted via ticks and affects 300,000 people in the United States every year. Unfortunately, according to Envita Medical Center, because the symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to other health issues like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even Parkinson's, it can be difficult to diagnose, preventing patients from receiving proper treatment early on. Lyme disease can also attack any organ of the body, according to the CDC, including the brain, heart, and nervous system.

So yeah, ticks are nasty creatures, and they're so microscopic sometimes that they aren’t always easily spotted until they’re actually biting you. Similar to how in movies and horror stories, vampires become come alive when they drink blood, the more blood ticks consume, the bigger they grow. Your best line of defense against them is to be aware of what they are, where they are, and familiarize yourself with how to prevent their bites.

While the CDC did apologize for the "gross" poppy seed muffin photo, it still wants you to be careful.

For the record, friends, ticks don’t live on or off poppy seed muffins. They can, however, be the size of poppy seeds, which was where the CDC was going with its visual. Personally, on the first try, I couldn't spot the ticks on the poppy seed muffin, and that's what should freak you out about this photo. If you can't identify these blood-suckers crawling around a muffin that's right in front of your face, unless someone points them out for you first, who knows where else you might be missing them?

In response to Twitter's outcry of disgust, the CDC did issue its sincerest apologies, and in the most hilarious fashion (still chuckling to myself at the "ticks" pun). The organization is clearly sorry it put a damper on your favorite pastry, but it's showing no remorse when it comes to pointing out the importance of protecting yourself against tiny ticks. If you think looking at the creatures messed with your breakfast, imagine how their bites could affect your health.

So don't go breaking up with the baked good, friends. Just, you know, maybe inspect for insects before indulging, OK?