Sept. 8, 2023 – The manufacturer of an extremely spicy tortilla chip marketed as the “One Chip Challenge” is pulling the product from store shelves after a Massachusetts woman said her 14-year-old son died after eating one of the chips.
Harris Wolobah of Worcester, MA, ate the chip on Sept. 1 at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, complained to a school nurse about a stomachache, and was sent home, his mother, Lois Wolobah, told NBC Boston. He passed out at home and was pronounced dead at the hospital later that day, she said. An autopsy has not determined the cause of death yet.
The One Chip Challenge is made with the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper, two of the hottest peppers in the world. The label on the coffin-shaped box dares customers to eat the chip, wait as long as possible without drinking or eating anything else, and record their reactions on social media.
In a statement on the company website, Paqui said that the product label says the chip is not for children or anybody sensitive to spicy foods or who has food allergies, is pregnant, or has health conditions. It said the company is "actively working with our retailers" and "offering refunds on our single-serve one chip challenge product."
“While the Paqui One Chip Challenge is intended for adults only, we have seen an increase in teen usage of the product,” a company spokesperson said. “We care about all of our consumers and have made the decision to remove the product from shelves.”
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that there have been reports from across the country of teens being hospitalized because of the One Chip Challenge.
"While the investigation into the cause of the teenager’s death in Worcester continues, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office would like to remind parents to research and discuss with your children about the one-chip challenge," he said.