The Worcester District Attorney’s Office issued a warning Wednesday about the One Chip Challenge, five days after a local teen died after participating in the viral social media trend.
One Chip Challenge Turns Deadly
Family members say a Massachusetts teen has died after eating an extremely spicy tortilla chip featured in the viral “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,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
A classmate gave the Paqui-branded chip to 14-year-old Harris Wolobah at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester before the boy went to the school nurse complaining of stomach pains, Harris’ mother, Lois Wolobah, tells WBTS.
The school called Harris’ mother, who picked him up. The boy started feeling better at home but fell unconscious while getting ready to head to a basketball team tryout, Lois Wolobah says.
Police responded around 4:30pm Friday and found he wasn’t breathing, per Spectrum News 1. He was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
In a GoFundMe to benefit the family of Harris Wolobah, his cousin wrote that Harris “passed away unexpectedly at the age of 14 from what we suspect to be complications due to the ‘one chip challenge’ (autopsy pending).”
“The pain our family is experiencing is unimaginable,” the cousin wrote.
The One Chip Challenge dares people to eat a Paqui Chips product made with super-hot peppers and see how long they can last without eating or drinking anything afterward. They are encouraged to film their experience and post the video to social media.
The challenge had a resurgence in popularity last fall, and schools around the country reported sending students to the hospital after they participated in it. Some schools banned the chips in response.
The Hershey Company, whose subsidiary owns Paqui Chips, did not respond to a request for comment Monday evening.
The challenge website also warns against eating the chip if you are sensitive to spicy foods; allergic to peppers, nightshades, or capsaicin; or have any medical conditions.
It advises seeking medical attention if you have difficulty breathing, feel faint, or experience extended nausea after eating the chip.
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