Autopsy Confirms Teen’s Death Linked To Spicy Chip Challenge

A recent autopsy report obtained by the Associated Press has shed light on the tragic death of a Massachusetts teenager who participated in a spicy tortilla chip challenge on social media, revealing that the cause of death was attributed to the ingestion of a high concentration of chili pepper extract.

Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old student from Worcester, passed away on September 1, 2023, shortly after consuming the chip. Police responding to a call at his residence discovered him unresponsive, and he was subsequently rushed to a hospital, where he later died.

The autopsy findings, shared by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, identified the cause of death as cardiopulmonary arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration.” Additionally, the report noted that Wolobah had an enlarged heart and a congenital heart defect.

In response to the tragic incident, the manufacturer of the chip, Paqui, took immediate action by urging retailers to discontinue sales of the product. Sold individually for approximately $10, the chip is packaged in a coffin-shaped box with 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, numerous reports have surfaced of children purchasing the chips and experiencing adverse reactions after participating in the challenge. Incidents of illness related to the spicy chip challenge have been reported across the country, underscoring the potential risks associated with viral social media trends involving extreme food consumption.

As the investigation into Wolobah’s death continues, health officials and authorities are urging caution and vigilance when participating in internet challenges, particularly those involving potentially hazardous substances. The tragic outcome of the spicy chip challenge serves as a stark reminder of the importance of prioritizing safety and well-being, especially among vulnerable populations such as teenagers.