The death of a 14-year-old boy in the United States after his family said he ate an extremely spicy tortilla chip has led to an outpouring of concern about the social media challenge and prompted the manufacturers and retailers to pull the product from their shelves.
According to the BBC, Amazon and eBay have removed the super-hot tortilla chip from the sites after the death of Harris Wolobah in Massachusetts. Amazon said that it would remove the product from its sites in the US, Britain, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It also plans to contact any international buyers who recently bought the chips to inform them.
An eBay spokesperson said user safety was a “top priority” and it had removed sale listings. “We are monitoring our site closely and will remove any other listings if they arise,” the spokesperson said, as per the outlet.
The cause of Harris Wolobah’s death on September 1 has not yet been confirmed, but his parents blame the ‘One Chip Challenge’. According to Science Alert, the 14-year-old was a healthy adolescent with no medical conditions that could easily explain any potential complications. Yet shortly after eating the tortilla chip, the boy visited his school nurse complaining of stomach pain. Within hours of being sent home, he passed out and stopped breathing, his family said. He was pronounced dead in spite of efforts by paramedics and hospital specialists.
Now, Harris’ mother has called for the product to be withdrawn from sale. “I just want there to be an awareness for parents to know that it’s not safe,” Lois Wolobah told the New York Times.
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Snack-maker Paqui claims that the single tortilla contains a blend of “the hottest peppers available”. Millions of people have watched YouTubers and TikTokers attempt the viral dare and their extreme reactions to it. It is believed that the popularity of the challenge has inspired a lot of teenagers to purchase the product to try it themselves.
However, following the 14-year-old’s death, the company on Thursday announced its decision to remove stock from the stores. The company said the challenge was “intended for adults only” and not for anyone with underlying health conditions or allergies.
But it said it had 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 an abundance of caution, we are actively working with our retailers to remove the product from shelves,” it said.