Massachusetts Probes Teen’s Death Allegedly Caused by Viral Spicy One Chip Challenge

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Massachusetts Probes Teen’s Death Allegedly Caused by Viral Spicy One Chip Challenge


Massachusetts authorities are delving into the untimely demise of 14-year-old Harris Wolobah, a case associated with the viral sensation known as the “One Chip Challenge.” 

The teen passed away on Sept. 1, with the exact cause of death still pending autopsy results. Wolobah’s family believes the challenge played a role in the tragic event, according to a report by ABC News.

(Photo : Paqui )

Paqui Halts Sale of Chips

Following this incident, Paqui, the Texas-based manufacturer of the fiery tortilla chip, has taken action. They are now working to halt the sale of these individually wrapped chips, a move already mirrored by 7-Eleven.

The One Chip Challenge, retailing for approximately $10, is presented in a sealed foil pouch within a distinctive coffin-shaped box, bearing a stark warning of its fiery intensity intended for adult consumption. 

Paqui, a subsidiary of The Hershey Company, expressed deep condolences for the loss of Wolobah and acknowledged the surge in young individuals engaging in the challenge despite explicit warnings.

“The paqui one chip challenge is intended for adults only, with clear and prominent labeling highlighting the chip is not for children or anyone sensitive to spicy foods or who has food allergies, is pregnant or has underlying health conditions,” the company stated in its website.

“We have seen an increase in teens and other individuals not heeding these warnings. As a result, while the product continues to adhere to food safety standards, out of an abundance of caution, we are actively working with our retailers to remove the product from shelves. “

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Viral Challenge

This challenge has gained traction on platforms like TikTok, with participants documenting their reactions to consuming the extremely spicy chip. Videos showcase individuals grappling with the intensity, often resulting in discomfort and a desperate need for relief.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early has urged parents to engage with their children about the hazards of such challenges, emphasizing that these chips are designed for adults. Similar incidents from across the United States have seen teenagers hospitalized due to the challenge.

Medical experts have shed light on the potential dangers. Dr. Lauren Rice, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Tufts Medical Center, outlined the range of symptoms to ABC News, from mild lip tingling to severe abdominal pain or nausea. 

Dr. Peter Chai, an associate professor in medical toxicology, warned of the potential fatality in cases of extreme exposure to capsaicin, a key ingredient in these chips.

Wolobah’s passing has spurred a call for vigilance. Family and friends attribute his tragic fate to the challenge and advocate for the removal of these chips from store shelves. They emphasize the responsibility to safeguard children from participating in potentially perilous activities.

The packaging of the One Chip Challenge not only challenges the consumer to endure the fiery experience but also issues a strong caution to those sensitive to spicy foods or with medical conditions. It also underscored the need for caution and the importance of seeking immediate medical attention if any adverse reactions occur.

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