Teen Dies After Participating In Spicy Chip Challenge, Autopsy Reveals

The tragic death of a Massachusetts teenager who participated in a spicy tortilla chip challenge on social media has been attributed to ingesting a high concentration of chili pepper extract, according to an autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press.

Harris Wolobah, a 10th grader from Worcester, passed away on September 1, 2023, shortly after consuming the chip. He was discovered unresponsive by authorities who responded to a call at his residence and was subsequently transported to a hospital, where he later succumbed.

The autopsy report, released by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, cited the cause of death as cardiopulmonary arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration.” Additionally, it revealed that the 14-year-old had an enlarged heart and a congenital heart defect.

Following Wolobah’s tragic death, the chip’s manufacturer, Paqui, took swift action by urging retailers to halt sales of the product. The chip, marketed as a challenge item, is individually wrapped in foil within a coffin-shaped box and includes a warning label indicating it is intended for adult consumption only.

Paqui also released a statement soon after Wolobah’s death, which read: “We have seen an increase in teens and other individuals not heeding these warnings. As a result, while the product continues to adhere to food safety standards, out of abundance of caution, we are actively working with retailers to remove the product from shelves.”

Despite the explicit warning, reports have emerged of children purchasing the chips and experiencing adverse reactions after partaking in the challenge. Similar incidents have been reported across the United States, including cases where teenagers required medical attention after consuming the spicy chip.

The tragic outcome of the spicy chip challenge serves as a sobering reminder of the potential dangers associated with viral social media trends, particularly those involving extreme food consumption. Authorities and health officials continue to emphasize the importance of exercising caution and discretion when participating in such challenges, especially for individuals with underlying health conditions.