14-Year-Old Dies After “One Chip Challenge”

14-Year-Old Dies After "One Chip Challenge"

(DailyDig.com) – A teenager in Massachusetts died after he attempted to eat one tortilla chip that was seasoned with a concentration of two powerful peppers, the Naga Viper and Carolina Reaper peppers. The challenge he participated in was a social media fad that dared participants to eat one chip and wait for as long as they could before drinking or eating anything to tamp down the pain.

Harris Wolobah, from Worcester, Massachusetts, was one of the participants in the “One Chip Challenge” in September 2023. Amplify Snack Brands, a branch of the Hershey Company, produced the chip that Harris Wolobah consumed. The chili pepper extract enhances the amount of capsaicin on the chip, which is the active component of chili peppers. Both peppers are rated at a little over one million Scoville, and, for comparison, a jalapeño is only rated at five thousand Scoville.

According to a Paqui spokesperson, the chip’s packaging clearly labels the challenge for adults, not for those who are sensitive to spicy foods. The packaging has one chip, wrapped in foil, inside a box shaped like a coffin. The warning states that it should not be accessible to children. However, the warning did not deter children from purchasing the product, as there have been reports of teenage children getting sick after attempting the challenge.

Wolobah’s heart defect, which he was born with, complicated his attempt to participate in the challenge. The school called his mother on the day he took the challenge, informing her that her son was ill. She took him home as he was holding his stomach in pain, but two hours later, he lost consciousness. She hurried him to the hospital, where doctors declared him dead.

On May 16, the Medical Examiner of Massachusetts released a report on the cause of death. It stated that Wolobah suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest as a result of the spicy food and his preexisting heart condition. The report did not conclude whether Wolobah’s death was due to homicide, accident, or natural causes.

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