14-year-old Killed by Extra Spicy “One Chip Challenge”

(BrightPress.org) – Another inane online “challenge” making the rounds on social media needlessly claimed the life of a teenager who was attempting it.

Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old from Massachusetts, suffered a heart attack while attempting to do the “One Chip Challenge“, where challengers eat a single corn chip peppered with the chili powder derived from the Carolina Reaper pepper and the Naga Viper pepper. The challenge was created by the chip’s manufacturer, Paqui.

Wolobah, however, had a congenital heart defect – an enlarged heart as well as a condition where one of his arteries goes through his heart rather than lying on the heart’s surface. The teenager collapsed after eating the ultra-hot chip, and he was found unconscious by first responders.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety confirmed that the 10th grader’s heart attack was caused by his consumption of a single corn chip that had a “high capsaicin concentration.”

Paqui, the corn chip company behind the product and the challenge, defended their marketing stunt, saying that their packaging included warnings indicating that the chip was for adult consumption only. Their challenge as well, was meant for adults.

Kim Metcalfe, a spokesperson for the company, said that Paqui was “deeply saddened” by Wolobah’s passing. And while the company says that “the product adhered to food safety standards,” they have decided to pull out the chip from shelves “out of an abundance of caution.”

The Carolina Reaper is considered one of the world’s spiciest peppers, which measures at close to the top of the Scoville Scale – used to gauge the “heat units” or spiciness of peppers – at 2 million to 2.2 million units. The Naga Viper follows close behind, registering anywhere from 1.5 million to 2 million heat units. Both are classified under “Super Hot” peppers. In comparison, a regular jalapeño only registers anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 units, while a cayenne pepper registers anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 units.

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