The company responsible for the viral “One Chip Challenge” is pulling the product from shelves after Michigan teenager Harris Wolobah died hours after eating it.
Paqui, maker of the extremely spicy snack, posted a statement at the top of its website clarifying that the “challenge” is “for adults only.”
The warning highlights the “clear and conspicuous labeling” that “the chip is not suitable for children or anyone sensitive to spicy foods.”
Paqui even offers refunds for those who have already purchased the Chip Challenge.
Paqui is currently working with retailers to get the chips off shelves.
Accordingly NBC Boston, Harris Wolobah died on the same day he took part in the One Chip Challenge. He reported stomach pain at school after eating the chip, later collapsed and was found unresponsive at home.
The 2023 edition of the One Chip Challenge features a tortilla chip flavored with two of the hottest peppers around, California Reaper Pepper and Naga Viper Pepper. The California Reaper is considered the hottest pepper in the world
Harris Wolobah, 14, died hours after eating a spicy tortilla chip as part of the “One Chip Challenge,” a social media trend that has garnered billions of views on TikTok. The Massachusetts teenager was a talented athlete who was described by family as “a light that lit up the room.”
On September 1, the boy’s mother was called to his school when Harris complained of stomach pain. He had eaten the spicy crisp after it was given to him by a classmate.
The young teenager felt better after he went home, but he passed out at 4:30 p.m. as he was about to go to basketball tryouts.
In conversation with the Worcester TelegramPolice Lt. Sean Murtha said the boy was unresponsive and not breathing. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead. Wolobah’s official cause of death is still pending.
The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office issued a warning about the challenge Wednesday:
“As the investigation into the cause of death of the Worcester teenager continues, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office would like to remind parents to research and discuss the one-chip challenge with their children,” District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. wrote in an article X (formerly Twitter).
“Medical professionals have said that tortilla chips, made from two of the hottest chili peppers in the world, can cause very serious and dangerous side effects.” “We urge parents to discuss this with their children and advise them not to take part in this activity.” , he added.
In a statement from Paqui to the TODAY show, a representative said it “takes safety very seriously and has worked hard to ensure that our products are properly and clearly labeled with allergen and safety information.”
“Our goal is for consumers to embrace this challenge with a full understanding of what it is and whether it is appropriate for them.”
It’s unclear what Paqui’s future plans are for the product, which is said to meet food safety standards.
Despite the warning on the packaging, the company saw an increase in underage participation in the challenge. However, there is no rule or regulation preventing a minor from picking up the Challenge at a local store.
The warning on the back of the coffin-shaped chip box
Paqui, the chip manufacturer, encourages people to test their physical limits. Anyone who can endure the burning pain for up to an hour without eating or drinking receives the title of “Apex Predator.”
While Harris’ death is the first reported death after eating the chip, many other children required medical attention after consuming it.
In October 2022, a school district in Lafayette, Louisiana, forbidden the chips from all campuses after several students required medical attention.
Less than a month later, paramedics arrived called to a high school in Dunwood, Georgia, prompting police to issue a warning about the snack.
The One Chip Challenge is a marketing campaign centered around a single tortilla chip advertised as the hottest in the world.
The challenge has gained a huge following on social media, with the tag “#onechipchallenge” on TikTok receiving over two billion views.
The chip has been manufactured by Paqui since 2016 and is the product of Texas-based Amplify Snack Brands, which was acquired by The Hershey Company in 2017.
A new flavor of the hot, spicy chip is released every year, and the 2023 edition is available on Amazon starting August 9th. Although there are fewer than ten ingredients listed, two that stand out the most are the California Reaper Pepper and the Naga Viper Pepper.
With up to 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), the California Reaper Pepper has officially been named the hottest pepper in the world Scoville scale. The Naga Viper pepper was just below that at 1,382,118 SHUs.
The scale measures the strength of different peppers relative to capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their spiciness. Pure capsaicin has 16 million Scoville units.
The single chip comes in a coffin-shaped box with a red skull.
A warning The label on the promotional page states: ‘Keep out of the reach of children.’ Intended for adult consumption.’
The site encourages people to seek medical attention if complications such as difficulty breathing, fainting or “persistent nausea” occur.
Paqui has launched an advertising campaign encouraging people to test whether they can endure the pain.
A graphic on the website reads: “How long can you hold out before you spiral?” and shows an image of a Grim Reaper grabbing a snake.
Anyone who cannot eat or drink anything for an hour to combat the heat is considered an “apex predator”.