Super-Hot Tortilla Chips Caused 14-Year-Old's Death

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.17 - 2024 12:57 PM CET

Photo: Matt Fowler KC /
Photo: Matt Fowler KC /
The tragic death of Harris Wolobah has been linked to the consumption of a super-hot tortilla chip containing chili pepper extract.

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In September, 14-year-old Harris Wolobah tragically lost his life after participating in the viral One Chip Challenge.

The challenge, which gained popularity across social media, involved consuming an extremely spicy tortilla chip made from Carolina Reaper, one of the world's hottest chili peppers.

According to, Harris was given the chip by a classmate and consumed it. Shortly after, he began experiencing severe stomach pains, prompting a call to his mother. Although he initially felt better at home, he later collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Following this incident, chip maker Paqui swiftly pulled the product from store shelves.

Autopsy Results Reveal Cause of Death

On Thursday, the results of the autopsy were released, confirming that the boy's heart stopped due to consuming capsaicin, a potent chili pepper extract.

The coroner's report, reviewed by AFP, also noted that the boy had an enlarged heart, which could have been a contributing factor to his sudden cardiac arrest.

According to Dr. Syed Haider, a cardiologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, "large doses of capsaicin can increase how the heart squeezes, putting extra pressure on the artery."

Since the One Chip Challenge emerged, poison control centers have warned that the concentrated amount could cause allergic reactions, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeats, and even heart attacks or strokes.

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