A 14-year-old high school student lost his life due to complications from consuming a single excessively spicy chip last week.
Harris Wolobah, a sophomore at Doherty Memorial High School, fell victim to the One Chip Challenge, a viral social media trend that has participants eating what has been engineered to be the world’s spiciest chip, while forgoing heat relieving beverages or food for as long as physically possible.
Although the official cause of death is yet to be confirmed pending autopsy results, Harris’ family firmly believes that the challenge was responsible.
The circumstances surrounding Harris’ death remain unclear. According to his mother, Lois Wolobah, a school nurse called to tell her that a classmate had offered her son the spicy chip, which resulted in severe stomach pain.
Despite Harris’ condition improving after she picked him up and brought him back home, tragedy struck later that day.
Just as Harris was about to head out for basketball tryouts at around 4:30 p.m. last Friday, he suddenly collapsed, despite having no known allergies or health problems.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors, unfortunately, pronounced him dead in the emergency room.
Authorities in Worcester are currently investigating the incident, but the scope of their inquiry was not released to the public.
Lois Wolobah thinks that her son should have been immediately taken to the hospital after visiting the nurse’s office at school.
She also wants the chip, which comes in a coffin and contains both “Carolina Reaper” and “Naga Viper Pepper,” banned from stores.
Wolobah hopes that by sharing this story, other families can be made aware of the potential dangers associated with these chips, potentially preventing further tragedies.
“I hope, I pray to God that no parents will go through what I’m going through,” she told CBS News. “I don’t want to see anybody hurting the way I’m hurting.”
The chip, which is made by Paqui, warns that it should only be consume by adults who have no pepper allergies or spicy food sensitivities.
While Harris’ death could be the first fatality associated with the chip, the challenge has already managed to mangle the stomachs of students in parts of the nation.
Three middle-schoolers from Tyler, Texas were hospitalized after eating the chip in 2022, as were several high school students from California.
The Paqui manufactured chips were banned by schools in Texas and Colorado the same year.
At the time, a spokesperson from the company told TODAY that they “take safety very seriously” and made sure the product is “clearly labeled” with safety and allergen information.
“It is our intent that consumers take on this challenge with a full understanding of what it is and if it is appropriate for them,” the spokesperson commented.