A Spicy Gamble: The Dark Side of Paqui’s ‘One Chip Challenge’

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Have you heard about the spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’? It’s making headlines, but not for the right reasons. Let’s dive into the details.

Paqui, the manufacturer of the intensely spicy tortilla chips known as the “One Chip Challenge,” has decided to voluntarily withdraw the product from store shelves following a tragic incident.

How Did The ‘One Chip Challenge’ Go Wrong?

A mother, Lois Wolobah, revealed that her 14-year-old son, Harris Wolobah, reportedly passed away due to complications after consuming a single chip from the product.

These tortilla chips, each individually packaged in a coffin-shaped container adorned with a skull, boasted a blend of two of the world’s hottest peppers: the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper.

Tragically, Harris Wolobah, a sophomore at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, Massachusetts, ate one of these chips and subsequently complained of a stomachache at school.

Later that day, he collapsed at home and was pronounced dead at the hospital, though the exact cause of his death remains undisclosed pending an autopsy.

Paqui, in a statement expressing their deep condolences to the Wolobah family, acknowledged the increase in teenage consumption of their product and the potential risks it posed.

Therefore, they have chosen to remove the “One Chip Challenge” from circulation and are collaborating with retailers to provide refunds for any prior purchases of the single-serve chip.

The challenge, which had been in existence since 2016, encouraged participants to consume the chip, causing their tongues to turn blue, and then endure the intense spiciness for as long as possible without relief.

Nevertheless, it was emphasized on the product label that children, pregnant individuals, those with underlying health conditions, those sensitive to spicy foods, and individuals allergic to peppers or capsaicin should avoid the chip.

Furthermore, individuals who experienced difficulty breathing, fainting, or prolonged nausea after consuming the chip were advised to seek immediate medical attention.

The spiciness of the Carolina Reaper and Naga Viper peppers used in the chips registers at around 1.7 million and 1.4 million Scoville heat units, respectively, in contrast to a jalapeño pepper, which measures up to 8,500 Scoville heat units.

The consumption of extremely spicy peppers like these may lead to vomiting, mouth burning, numbness, and even severe headaches. Hospitalizations related to the “One Chip Challenge” had been reported nationwide, including among teenagers.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. issued a cautionary message, urging parents to research and discuss the risks associated with the “One Chip Challenge” with their children and advise them against participating in this activity.

While investigations into the cause of Harris Wolobah’s tragic death in Worcester continue.

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