Warning over dangerous TikTok ‘One Chip Challenge’ spreading like wildfire on social media which sees people eat extremely spicy tortillas – after US teenager, 14, died while taking part in viral craze

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Harris Wolobah, 14, died hours after eating a spicy tortilla chip as part of the 'One Chip Challenge,' a social media trend that has gained billions of views on TikTok

Experts today warned about a dangerous TikTok trend that is spreading like wildfire on the social media site – after an American teenager tragically died after taking part in the fad.

The so-called ‘One Chip Challenge’ involves eating what is said to be the spiciest tortilla chip on the planet while refraining from eating or drinking anything else to ease the pain for as long as possible.

The crisps, sold by Paqui, come in a box shaped like a coffin. Paqui has been encouraging the challenge since 2016 and releases a new flavour each year. The 2023 edition became available on Amazon from August 9. 

Videos on TikTok show grown men crying in pain after eating a crisp. At first they start the videos smiling, seemingly excited to try the challenge. But within moments, they begin to cry, turn red and are obviously in extreme physical pain. In one video, a man eats copious amounts of yoghurt and drinks water but it doesn’t seem to make much difference to his discomfort. 

But following the death of Massachusetts teenager Harris Wolobah, 14, on September 1 after eating one of the spicy crisps, experts in the UK are warning people to avoid taking part in the viral craze.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it had received reports of people being sent to hospital after eating the intensely spicy chip.

Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA, told MailOnline: ‘It’s important that food is consumed as intended and that consumers follow any consumer advice on any food labelling or packaging. If there is any unsafe food on the market we’ll take rapid action to ensure it is removed and alert consumers.’

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Another expert warned that capsaicin, which is an active compound in chilli peppers, could potentially be fatal in high doses. 

Harris Wolobah, 14, died hours after eating a spicy tortilla chip as part of the ‘One Chip Challenge,’ a social media trend that has gained billions of views on TikTok

Pictured, TikTokker Walkz's reaction after eating the incredibly spicy crisp that has hospitalised people TikTokker Etizolam wears a plastic glove to handle the tortilla chip, which comes in a box shaped like a coffin

Pictured, TikTokker Walkz’s reaction after eating the incredibly spicy crisp, which has hospitalised people

People record their reactions to eating the crisp and post it on TikTok, receiving billions of views

People record their reactions to eating the crisp and post it on TikTok, receiving billions of views

Harris complained of a stomach ache after eating a chip given to him by a classmate

Harris complained of a stomach ache after eating a chip given to him by a classmate

Harris’s mother Lois revealed the family believed that the teenager died of complications from the challenge. He became ill at school with severe stomach ache and was taken home but collapsed a few hours later. He was then rushed to hospital where he died. 

Dr Melanie Ribbeck, of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, Texas, told Fox26Houston: ‘There is the potential for dangerous side-effects from consuming large amounts of capsaicin.  Repeated episodes of vomiting after eating something hot that can damage your oesophagus.  There are also reports of people experiencing chest pains or having heart attacks.’

Dr Gary Kirkilas, a paediatrician in Phoenix, Arizona, said: ‘They come in with something that looks like a stomach flu. Nausea, vomiting for a couple of days.

‘The ingredients are the Carolina reaper pepper and the Scorpion pepper. Now on a scale, if you think of a jalapeno pepper or Tabasco sauce, these are numerous times more spicy.’

Dr Brett Christiansen, of Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, California, said: ‘Throughout your digestive tract you may feel burning or pain and it can be pretty severe after a short time.’ 

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Paqui, the chip's manufacturer, encourages people to test their physical limits. Those who can sustain the burning pain for up to an hour without food or drink earn the title 'Apex Predator'

Paqui, the chip’s manufacturer, encourages people to test their physical limits. Those who can sustain the burning pain for up to an hour without food or drink earn the title ‘Apex Predator’

The 2023 edition of the 'One Chip Challenges' features a tortilla chip flavoured with two of the spiciest peppers possible, the Carolina reaper pepper and the Naga Viper Pepper. The Carolina reaper is ranked as the world's spiciest pepper

The 2023 edition of the ‘One Chip Challenges’ features a tortilla chip flavoured with two of the spiciest peppers possible, the Carolina reaper pepper and the Naga Viper Pepper. The Carolina reaper is ranked as the world’s spiciest pepper

Some of the ingredients include the California Reaper Pepper and Naga Viper Pepper. The California Reaper Pepper was officially named the world’s hottest pepper, measuring up to 2.2 Million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) on the Scoville Scale. The Naga Viper Pepper came in just below it at 1,382,118 SHUs.

The scale measures the strength of various peppers relative to capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat. Pure capsaicin measures 16 million Scoville units.

A warning label on the promotional site reads: ‘Keep out of reach of children. Intended for adult consumption.’

The page encourages people to seek medical attention if they experience complications like difficulty breathing, fainting or ‘extended nausea’.

A graphic on the site reads ‘How long can you last before you spiral out?’ and features an image of a grim reaper gripping a snake.

Those who can go one hour without eating or drinking anything to counter the heat are deemed an ‘Apex Predator’.

It remains unclear if the spicy chip contributed to Harris’s death and an autopsy is pending.

On September 3, Dr. Rachel Monárrez, Superintendent of Worcester Public Schools, issued a statement that was published to the Worcester Public Schools website. She referred to the teen as a ‘rising star’.

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Source: tit.edu.vn

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