The tortilla chip company that challenged consumers to eat a single chip sprinkled with two of the hottest peppers in the world is pulling the product from retail store shelves, the company announced Thursday, days after the family of a teenager said he died after consuming this tortilla. chip.
“The Paqui One Chip Challenge is intended for adults only, with clear and prominent labeling emphasizing that the chip is not intended for children” or other sensitive groups, the company said in a statement posted on its website. Internet. “We have seen an increase in the number of teenagers and others who ignore these warnings. »
As a result, the company said, it was working with retailers to remove the product from shelves “out of an abundance of caution.”
Paqui also said it would offer refunds for the product, which was priced around $9.99 for a single serving. Paqui is owned by Amplify Snack Brands, a subsidiary of Hershey Company.
The chip involved in the challenge was sprinkled with Carolina Reaper and Naga Viper peppers, two of the hottest peppers in the world. The label on the coffin-shaped box urged customers to wait as long as possible before eating or drinking anything after consuming the crisps, and then posting their reactions on social media.
Many videos online showed people begging for water or putting ice cream or milk in their mouths after eating the chips.
The chips were one of the last things Harris Wolobah, 14, ate before he died, his family said. Lois Wolobah, his mother, said her son’s school in Worcester, Massachusetts, called her last Friday to say he was sick and she needed to pick him up. When she arrived at school, Harris was bent over with stomach pains. About two hours later, he was rushed to hospital, where he later died.
The cause of her death was not immediately clear, but Ms Wolobah told The New York Times she believed the chip had something to do with her death.
A Paqui spokeswoman, Kim Metcalfe, said the company was “deeply saddened” by Harris’ passing and “expressed our condolences to the family.”
“We care about all of our consumers and have made the decision to remove the product from shelves,” Ms Metcalfe said in a statement to The Times. “The product label clearly states that it is not intended for children or anyone with a sensitivity to spicy foods or with food allergies, who is pregnant or has any underlying medical conditions.”
The spokesperson stressed that the removal of the chip was not a “recall” but rather a “voluntary recovery”.