A hot chip challenge might have become deadly for 14-year-old Harris Wolobah in Massachusetts this month. According to his family, the boy felt sick and died mere hours after eating a potato chip made with two of the hottest peppers on record. A final determination into his cause of death has not been released yet, however.
As first reported by the Boston Globe, Wolobah ate a brand of Paqui chip known as the “One Chip Challenge”—a chip dusted with the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper peppers—early on September 1. Soon after, he visited the nurse’s office complaining of stomach pain. He was sent home where his condition rapidly worsened. He fell unconscious and stopped breathing. He was then taken to the hospital but to no avail. Wolobah’s family believes that the chip contributed to his death.
Without admitting fault in the boy’s death, the company has pulled the chip from the shelves for the time being. On its website for the One Chip Challenge, there is now a paragraph stating that the company has seen an increase in teens and other people paying no heed to the product’s warnings.
Some research has suggested that the peppers commonly found in these chips, including the Carolina Reaper, can cause serious cardiovascular complications in teens. But for now, it’s still not clear if and how the chip might have killed Wolobah. An autopsy of the boy is expected to be completed within 12 weeks.
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