Black Teen Died From Eating Spicy Chip For Social Media Challenge: Report

Photo: GoFundMe

An autopsy report has revealed that a Massachusetts teen died from eating a spicy tortilla chip containing a high amount of chili pepper extract capsaicin, NBC Boston reports.

Harris Wolobah, 14, died on September 1, 2023 after participating in a social media challenge involving a Paqui-branded tortilla chip.

The Paqui chip was packaged in foil in a coffin-shaped box, promising a “vengeful pleasure of intense heat and pain.” A warning on the packaging noted that the chip was for adult consumption only.

However, children across social media participated in the spice challenge, which entailed eating a Paqui chip and seeing how long they could go without consuming any other food or water.

An autopsy report from the Chief Office of the Medical Examiner determined that Wolobah died of cardiopulmonary arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration."

The report noted that Wolobah also had cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, and a congenital defect described as “myocardial bridging of the left anterior descending coronary artery.”

“It is possible that with significant stimulation of the heart, the muscle beyond the bridge suddenly had abnormal blood flow ('ischemia') and could have been a cause of a severe arrhythmia,” Dr. James Udelson, chief of cardiology at Tufts Medical Center, said in a statement. “There have been reports of acute toxicity with capsaicin causing ischemia of the heart muscle.”

Paqui removed the product from stores following Harris' death.

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