Although social media brings various benefits to our lives, it can also be a toxic way for fatal trends to spread. From the "The Benadryl Challenge" to the "One Plate Challenge," the "One Chip Challenge" has brought another unfortunate case.
The news of the teen's passing spread to other regional and international publications after The Boston Globe broke the story last week.
Consuming a chip laced with Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers is required for the "One Chip Challenge" by Paqui, which debuted in 2016, and costs $9.99. According to the Paqui website, the "high voltage" chip makes users' tongues glow blue and is packaged separately in a coffin-shaped box.
In theory, the problem looks straightforward. According to the website, the challenge is simple: Swallow the whole chip and wait as long as you can before drinking or eating anything.
According to Lois Wolobah, her son's school phoned her on September 1 to let her know he was ill and that she needed to come pick him up. Harris was holding his stomach in the nurse's office when she arrived.
Her son showed her a photo of the snack he had just finished: one Paqui chip sprinkled with the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper, two of the spiciest peppers in the world. After eating a single tortilla chip, 14-year-old Harris Wolobah from Worcester, Massachusetts, passed away.
The cause of death was not immediately clear, and Tim McGuirk, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said it might take up to 12 weeks before the findings of an autopsy are made public.
Wolobah, however, allegedly claims she thought the chip had endangered her son's health. Some experts say that although Harris had no preexisting conditions, the active compound of capsaicin — found in chilli peppers — can be fatal if consumed in high doses. Wolobah wants other adults to be informed that the chip is unsafe and must be fully removed from the market.
The tragedy is the first time that the Paqui "One Chip Challenge" has been connected to a fatality, although it has previously been condemned for making people ill.
"We are deeply saddened by the news report and express our condolences to the family."- Paqui Spokesperson, Kim Metcalfe
According to a clear warning on the container, the chip should be kept out of kids' reach and only consumed by adults. The chip is not recommended for consumption by anyone pregnant, anyone who has any medical conditions, or is sensitive to or allergic to hot foods, peppers, nightshades, or capsaicin.
The Paqui website also warns to go seek medical help if faced with any difficulty breathing, nausea, or fainting.
While TikTok trends are all over our screens, consider caution when participating in extreme challenges.
- The New York Times. Fatality Draws Scrutiny to Spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’ Product.
- Paqui. 2023 PAQUI ONE CHIP CHALLENGE.