Firm pulls spicy One Chip Problem from retailer cabinets as Massachusetts investigates teen’s loss of life


Company pulls spicy One Chip Challenge from store shelves as Massachusetts investigates teen's death
A bundle of Paqui OneChipChallenge spicy tortilla chips is seen on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Boston. Authorities are elevating the alarm a few OneChipChallenge social media pattern that encourages folks to keep away from searching for aid from consuming and ingesting for so long as doable after consuming the chips, days after a Massachusetts teenager died hours after participating within the problem. The dare is standard on social media websites, with scores of individuals together with youngsters unwrapping the packaging, consuming the chips and reacting to the warmth. Credit score: AP Picture/Steve LeBlanc

The maker of a particularly spicy tortilla chip offered because the One Chip Problem and popularized as a dare on social media is pulling the product after the household of a Massachusetts teenager blamed the stunt for his loss of life.

The reason for Harris Wolobah’s loss of life final Friday hasn’t been decided and an post-mortem was nonetheless pending as of Thursday, however the 14-year-old’s household blames the . Since his loss of life, the Texas-based producer, Paqui, has requested retailers to cease promoting the individually wrapped chips—a step 7-Eleven has already taken.

The One Chip Problem chip sells for about $10 and comes wrapped in a sealed foil pouch that’s enclosed in a coffin-shaped cardboard field. The bundle warns that the chip is made for the «vengeful pleasure of intense warmth and ache,» is meant for adults and ought to be stored out of attain of kids.

Paqui, a subsidiary of The Hershey Firm, mentioned in an announcement posted on its web site Thursday that it was «deeply saddened by the loss of life» of Wolobah.

«Now we have seen a rise in teenagers and different people not heeding these warnings,» the corporate mentioned. «Because of this, whereas the product continues to stick to , out of abundance of warning, we’re actively working with retailers to take away the product from cabinets.»

Authorities in Massachusetts have additionally responded to the loss of life by warning dad and mom in regards to the problem, which is is standard on websites equivalent to TikTok. Scores of individuals, together with youngsters, publish movies of themselves unwrapping the packaging, consuming the spicy chips after which reacting to the warmth. Some movies present folks gagging, coughing and begging for water.

Company pulls spicy One Chip Challenge from store shelves as Massachusetts investigates teen's death
A bundle of Paqui OneChipChallenge spicy tortilla chips is seen on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Boston. Authorities are elevating the alarm a few OneChipChallenge social media pattern that encourages folks to keep away from searching for aid from consuming and ingesting for so long as doable after consuming the chips, days after a Massachusetts teenager died hours after participating within the problem. The dare is standard on social media websites, with scores of individuals together with youngsters unwrapping the packaging, consuming the chips and reacting to the warmth. Credit score: AP Picture/Steve LeBlanc

«We urge dad and mom to debate this with their youngsters and advise them to not partake on this exercise,» Worcester County District Legal professional Joseph Early mentioned in a collection of posts in regards to the problem on the social community X, previously generally known as Twitter. «The corporate warnings state the chips are supposed for grownup consumption. Different states throughout the nation have seen hospitalizations as a result of chip problem, together with teenagers.»

There have been reviews from across the nation of people that have gotten sick after participating within the problem, together with three college students from a California who have been despatched to a hospital. And paramedics have been known as to a Minnesota college final 12 months when seven college students fell sick after participating within the problem.

«You’ll be able to have very like burning or tingling of the lips within the mouth, however you may as well have extra ,» mentioned Dr. Lauren Rice, the chief of pediatric emergency medication at Tufts Medical Middle in Boston, noting that this is a chance for folks, coaches, lecturers to study in regards to the numerous social media challenges which might be on the market and will pose risks.

«This goes again to the components which might be used with the tortilla chip,» she continued. «There are some spices like capsaicin, which is a chemical ingredient that we use in issues like pepper spray and so they’re very robust chemical substances and they are often very irritating. A few of the extra extreme signs that we see could be issues like vital stomach ache or nausea and vomiting.»

Dr. Peter Chai, an affiliate professor of emergency medication and medical toxicology at Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital, mentioned these chips could be harmful beneath sure circumstances.

«It is doable consuming these chips with excessive focus of capsaicin might trigger loss of life,» he mentioned. «It might actually rely on the quantity of capsaicin that a person was uncovered to. At excessive doses, it may result in deadly dysrhythmia or irreversible damage to the center.»

Company pulls spicy One Chip Challenge from store shelves as Massachusetts investigates teen's death
A bundle of Paqui OneChipChallenge spicy tortilla chips is seen on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Boston. Authorities are elevating the alarm a few OneChipChallenge social media pattern that encourages folks to keep away from searching for aid from consuming and ingesting for so long as doable after consuming the chips, days after a Massachusetts teenager died hours after participating within the problem. The dare is standard on social media websites, with scores of individuals together with youngsters unwrapping the packaging, consuming the chips and reacting to the warmth. Credit score: AP Picture/Steve LeBlanc

Police in Worcester, which is in central Massachusetts and is the state’s second-largest metropolis, mentioned in an announcement that they have been known as to Wolobah’s home Friday afternoon and located him «unresponsive and never respiration.» He was transported to the hospital, the place he was pronounced lifeless.

Household and associates of Wolobah imagine the chips brought on his loss of life, and his household known as for the chips to be banned from retailer cabinets.

«The chip is accountable in our eyes for no matter came about as a result of he was a wholesome child,» mentioned Douglas Hill, who runs the basketball league Wolobah performed in and described him as a quiet teen whose household got here to the U.S. from Liberia.

«The dialog now’s in regards to the chip, however there will probably be different challenges coming and we wish to be sure youngsters know they should not be collaborating in something that would put them in hurt’s method,» mentioned Douglas, who organized a basketball occasion Saturday to honor the teenager. A Friday vigil can also be deliberate.

There could be little question about why somebody would eat these chips.

Along with its identify, One Chip Problem, the bundle lays out the «guidelines for the problem,» which inspires the client to eat all the chip, «wait so long as doable earlier than ingesting or consuming something,» and publish their response on social media. The packaging additionally asks how lengthy can the person final on a scale from one minute to 1 hour.

The again of the bundle warns patrons to not eat the chip if they’re «delicate to spicy meals, allergic to peppers, evening shades or capsaicin or are pregnant or have any medical circumstances.» It additionally mentioned people ought to wash their arms after touching the chip and «search medical help do you have to expertise problem respiration, fainting or prolonged nausea.»

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