Tragic "One Chip Challenge" Incident Claims Teen's Life

A Massachusetts teenager, Harris Wolobah, died after consuming a spicy tortilla chip during the "One Chip Challenge." The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Wolobah had consumed a high amount of a chili pepper extract. He died on September 1, 2023, and Chip maker Paqui pulled the product from store shelves days later. Wolobah's cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest, an enlarged heart, and a congenital heart defect. His mother, Lois Wolobah, reported that she received a call from a school nurse at Doherty High School, stating that Wolobah fainted after eating the chip a friend gave him. He later passed out again at home and was taken to an emergency room where he died.

The "One Chip Challenge" began in 2016 as a marketing campaign by chip company Paqui. Youngsters buy the chip, flavoured with Carolina Reaper pepper, and film themselves eating it without drinking or eating anything for relief. The pepper used in the chip is considered the hottest pepper in the world. Poison Control, a website dedicated to the challenge, states that the hot and spicy flavor of the One Chip Challenge can vary among individuals due to the different sensations of taste. The capsaicin content of foods is often assessed using the Scoville heat units (SHU) scale.


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