The year is 2018, and teenagers are eating laundry detergent for sport. Lawmakers apparently believe the trend can be stopped by forcing companies to make their laundry detergent look less delicious. (By the way: Laundry detergent does not look delicious.)
Democratic state senators in New York introduced legislation on Monday that would outlaw the sale of liquid detergent packets not contained in "child-resistant wrappers," defined in the bill as "opaque covering of the liquid detergent packet that is not easily permeated by a child's bite, which has a uniform color that is not attractive to children." The legislation would also require each pod to carry a warning label.
According to the New York Post, the lawmakers wrote a letter to Proctor & Gamble, Tide's parent company, directing them to "use a stronger bittering agent to prevent ingestion of pods, reduce their pleasant smell, and make them feel more firm."
Their efforts are laudable — nobody wants kids to eat Tide Pods — but the entire joke is that people aren't supposed to eat Tide Pods, meaning anybody participating in the challenge is perfectly aware they should not be ingesting laundry detergent. Thus the legislation in question is not well-targeted, and could ultimately force companies to comply with regulations that only end up heightening the joke's appeal among teenagers who already find it hilarious to snack on something they know is dangerous.
In fairness, the bill does require the child-resistant wrappers to be "separate, individual, and non-permeable," which could plausibly make it more difficult (and less exciting) for kids to bite into the pods on camera, though they're already going out of their way to eat laundry detergent, so even that measure could well prove futile.
In the words of every effective infomercial to ever grace our airwaves, there has to be a better way.