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Family suspects teen died from viral spicy chip challenge

The challenge encourages people to eat a tortilla chip with ingredients that include the Carolina Reaper pepper and Naga Viper pepper.
Family suspects teen died from viral spicy chip challenge
Posted at 3:47 PM, Sep 05, 2023

The family of a 14-year-old from Massachusetts blames a spicy chip challenge for the boy's death. 

Harris Wolobah's mother told NBC Boston that a classmate gave him the chip, which left him with a stomach ache. 

Lois Walobah reportedly picked up her son from school after getting a call from the nurse. Walobah said her son appeared to be feeling better and was going to go to basketball tryouts that afternoon, but he passed out as he was about to leave. Harris was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Superintendent of Worcester Public Schools Rachel Monárrez issued a statement following Harris' death, calling the teen a "rising star."

"As a mother and educator, I cannot imagine how hard this is on his family, friends and teachers," said Monárrez. "My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him."

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The One Chip Challenge has been around for years. It was started by tortilla chip maker Paqui. Customers are challenged to eat a single chip containing the Carolina Reaper pepper and Naga Viper pepper. The company warns, however, that people who are sensitive to spicy foods should not take part in the challenge. It also says people should seek medical assistance if they begin to feel sick after eating the chip. 

While Harris' family suspects the chip for causing his death, his mother told NBC Boston that an autopsy is pending. 

Scripps News reached out to Paqui for comment on this incident, but has not heard back. 

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