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‘One Chip Challenge’ Led to Death of Massachusetts Teenager, Autopsy Shows

Paqui removes ‘One Chip Challenge’ from shelves after Worcester teen’s death

Paqui removes ‘One Chip Challenge’ from shelves after Worcester teen’s death


WORCESTER – A Massachusetts teenager who participated in the “Challenge of a flea” died of cardiac arrest hours after eating the spicy tortilla chip, an autopsy concluded. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Harris Wolobah of Worcester ingested a large amount of chili pepper extract.

The 14-year-old died on September 1, 2023. The potato chip manufacturer Paqui I removed the product from store shelves a few days after his death.

Cause of death of Harris Wolobah

Wolobah’s cause of death was listed as cardiopulmonary arrest “in the context of recent ingestion of a food substance with a high concentration of capsaicin.” The National Capital Poison Center says capsaicin usually causes pain in the mouth and throat, but can trigger more serious health problems, even heart attacks.

Wolobah also suffered from an enlarged heart and a congenital heart defect, the medical examiner found.

Harris Wolobah
Fourteen-year-old Harris Wolobah died hours after the “One Chip Challenge,” his family said.

CBS Boston

The teen’s mother, Lois Wolobah, told WBZ-TV last year that she received a call from the Doherty High School nurse, saying Harris had passed out after eating the chip that a friend had given him. He later passed out again at home and was taken to the emergency room where he died.

Family at the time said Wolobah was a healthy basketball player with no known allergies.

“I hope, I pray to God that no parent goes through what I go through. I don’t want to see anyone suffer like I suffer.” » said Lois Wolobah. “I miss my son so much. I miss him so much.”

What is the “One Chip Challenge”?

The “One Chip Challenge,” which has gained popularity on social media, contains a single chip in a box labeled “Carolina Reaper” and “Naga Viper Pepper.” On the back of the package there is a warning label that reads “Keep out of reach of children.” WBZ-TV found the fleas at a store about 10 minutes from the Wolobah school last fall.

A box from Paqui’s One Chip Challenge.

CBS Boston

“Although the Paqui One Chip Challenge is intended for adults only, we have seen an increase in use of the product by adolescents,” a Paqui spokesperson told WBZ-TV after Wolobah’s death. “The product label clearly states that it is not intended for children or anyone who is sensitive to spicy foods or has food allergies, is pregnant, or has underlying health conditions.”

The One Chip Challenge was also accused of “poisoning” a sixth grader in San Francisco last year.


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