Supermarket chatbot raises eyebrows after generating toxic gas, poisonous jelly recipes

Supermarket chatbot raises eyebrows after generating toxic gas, poisonous jelly recipes
Key Points
  • New Zealand supermarket Pak ‘n’ Save rolled out the Savey Meal-Bot to help shoppers with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Some users have found that certain inputs prompted the AI to produce outlandish and at times dangerous results.
  • A supermarket spokesperson said they were disappointed people were using the AI “not for its intended purpose.”

An AI chatbot designed to give New Zealand supermarket customers cost-saving recipes has been dishing up some disturbing suggestions, including a toxic gas and “ant poison flavoured jelly,” after shoppers realised the program will respond to almost any inputs.

Rolled out by supermarket chain Pak ‘n’ Save in June, the so-called Savey Meal-Bot is intended to help people use up otherwise unwanted leftovers amid the


On paper, its function is simple: users open the app or website, enter a range of at least three different ingredients – “Favourites” suggested by the Bot include chicken breast, yoghurt, and cheese – and Savey Meal-Bot responds with a meal plan that, with varying degrees of success, makes use of them.

Tell the Bot that you have leftover avocados, cake, and sausages, for example, and it will whip you up a recipe for a sausage avocado cake.

But users have started testing the limits of the AI’s algorithm, entering improbable combinations of household ingredients to force the bot into producing increasingly outlandish, and at times dangerous, recipes.

Liam Hehir, a New Zealand political commentator, drew widespread attention to this quirk when he entered water, bleach, and ammonia into the Savey Bot’s system and was told to combine all three in a large pitcher to create what the AI called “aromatic water mix.”

In reality, the mixture of bleach and ammonia would produce toxic chloramine gas, which can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and in high concentrations can lead to coma and death.

Other users have posted similarly menacing Savey Bot recipes to social media, including one for “bleach-infused rice surprise” and another for a turpentine-flavoured variation on French toast that the AI labelled “methanol bliss.”

In response to the trend, a Pak ‘n’ Save spokesperson said in a statement that they were disappointed to see “a small minority have tried to use the tool inappropriately and not for its intended purpose” – adding that the supermarket would “keep fine tuning our controls” so that the bot remained safe and useful, The Guardian reported.

Before opening, the Savey Meal-Bot issues a warning notice clarifying that it “uses a generative artificial intelligence to create recipes, which are not reviewed by a human being.”

“To the fullest extent permitted by law, we make no representations as to the accuracy, relevance or reliability of the recipe content that is generated, including that… any recipe will be a complete or balanced meal, or suitable for consumption,” the notice reads. “You must use your own judgement before relying on or making any recipe produced by Savey Meal-bot.”

The Savey Meal-Bot is powered by


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