Paqui’s ‘One Chip Challenge’ Removed From Shelves Following Teen’s Death


The “One Chip Challenge” is being removed from shelves by Paqui, the extremely spicy tortilla chip maker that said the action was being taken “out of an abundance of caution” Thursday—less than a week after the mother of a Massachusetts teen said her son died from complications after eating the product.

Key Facts

In a statement posted to its website, Paqui said it was “actively working with retailers to remove the product from shelves,” noting an increase in teens and “other individuals” not heeding the product’s warnings, which says it is intended for adult consumption.

Other warnings on the product tell consumers to keep the chip away from children and to not eat it if they are pregnant, have medical conditions or are sensitive or allergic to spicy foods.

Paqui—owned by Amplify Snack Brands, a subsidiary of the Hershey Company—also said Thursday refunds for the $10 chip would be offered.

The product’s removal comes after Harris Wolobah, 14, ate the chip while at school last Friday and was eventually taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Wolobah’s family suspects the teenager’s death resulted from complications due to the One Chip Challenge, according to a GoFundMe organized by a family member.

Paqui did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, but a spokesperson told multiple outlets the company was deeply saddened by Wolobah’s death and expressed condolences to his family.

What To Watch For

An autopsy has not yet determined Wolobah’s cause of death. Autopsy results may take up to 12 weeks to materialize, according to the New York Times, which cited the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Key Background

Wolobah’s father told CBS on Tuesday that, to his knowledge, his son had no pre-existing conditions. Harris was described in the GoFundMe as an intelligent and talented teenager who played basketball and video games. Paqui’s owner, Amplify Snack Brands, was acquired by the Hershey Company for about $1.6 billion in 2017. The acquisition came about one year after Amplify began marketing the one chip challenge, which asks consumers to post their reactions on social media after eating a spicy tortilla chip containing Carolina Reaper Pepper and Naga Viper Pepper.

Further Reading

Fatality Draws Scrutiny to Spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’ Product (New York Times)

Parents want “One Chip Challenge” banned after death of Worcester teen Harris Wolobah (CBS)

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