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14-year-old dies after trying the paqui ‘one chip challenge’.

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The Paqui One Chip Challenge has resulted in kids vomiting, sweating profusely, having their tongues ... [+] turn blue, and other effects. (Photo by Sarah Dussault/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

What could possibly go wrong after trying the Paqui One Chip Challenge? This is the challenge where you are supposed to eat one tortilla chip dusted with two of the hottest peppers in the world—the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper—and then try to go as long as possible without eating or drinking anything to ease the anguish. Well, over the past year, there have already been reports of kids suffering all sorts of bad effects and even being hospitalized after trying this challenge. And on September 1, Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old sophomore at Doherty Memorial High School in Massachusetts, tragically died soon after partaking in this challenge.

Now, even though it hasn’t yet been clearly established that the One event led to Wolobah’s death, the timing has got to make you wonder. In fact, the GoFundMe page set up by Wolobah’s family did say, “On September 1, my aunt Lois’ youngest son, Harris, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 14 from what we suspect to be complications due to the “one chip challenge” (autopsy pending).” Basically, that day, Wolobah visited the school’s nurse’s office complaining about not feeling well and showed the nurse a picture of the one thing that he had just consumed: one of the Paqui chips. That’s according to reporting from Rebecca Carballo and Remy Tumin for the New York Times . Wolobah felt so ill that he ended up leaving school early with his parents. After returning home, Wolobah’s condition continued to deteriorate to the point where he stopped breathing, was rushed to the hospital, and eventually died.

Again, the cause of Wolobah’s death has yet to be firmly established, pending an autopsy. But there are already plenty of videos on social media of people shaking, sweating profusely, gasping, begging for water , and otherwise looking very, very uncomfortable after eating the very, very spicy chip. The Paqui website used to ask people to see “How long can you last before you spiral out,” after eating the chip and then to post their hot takes on social media. Although, such statements have since been removed from its website, searching for the hashtag #onechipchallenge on TikTok will return scores of videos showing people trying this one chip that sells for $9.99 and then visibly suffering more than one type of agony. Such videos have already garnered over 2 billion views on TikTok in total. So, the challenge is that this challenge seems to be continuing.

Carolina Reaper chili peppers, seen here growing in the field at Meadowview Farm in Bowers, PA, are ... [+] one of the two very hot pepper components of the Paqui One Chip. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

This is another situation where it’s important to listen to your body. If your body is reacting very badly to something then that should be a hint that it is not good for you. Although spicy food is part of many different cuisines around the world and in many cases won’t result in much more than a feeling of warmth and perhaps some sweating, pretty much anything in excess is bad. The Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper are not you run-of-the-mill peppers that will lead to no more than a bit of a tingle. These are seriously hot peppers.

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The hot from such hot chili peppers does not mean that the peppers have actually been heated to a high temperature. Rather what’s bringing the heat is a chemical compound called capsaicin found in such peppers. This chemical can bind to TRPV1 pain receptors that line your mouth, tongue and various other parts of your gastrointestinal tract, which, in turn, triggers that feeling of heat and pain.

Your body can then mistake this for being under extreme heat—even though your body temperature doesn’t actually rise to that degree—and as a result do all kinds of things to try to cool down. This includes producing lots of sweat and expanding blood vessels to allow more body heat to dissipate through the skin. That’s why you can get that red, flushed appearance when eating spicy food. Your body may also essentially say, “What is this? Get this out of here!” And since your body doesn’t have a great GPS in place to specifically identify where the capsaicin is, it can try to expel the capsaicin in a rather disordered, let’s-just-try-everything-everywhere way. This entails increasing the production of mucus, saliva, tear, and other fluids throughout your body. That’s why very spicy food can make you tear up, drool, and have a runny nose.

The Scoville pepper heat scale shows different peppers from the sweetest to very hot. (Illustration: ... [+] Getty)

The effects can progress down your GI tract as the capsaicin makes it way down there. The initial reactions are typically in your mouth and throat, causing them to swell, perhaps even to the point where it gets difficult to breathe. As the capsaicin moves from your mouth down through your esophagus, you can develop burning sensations in your chest. Next after the esophagus comes the stomach, where even more reactions can occur. Now, contrary to a popular belief, capsaicin won’t cause stomach ulcers, but it can lead to cramping and pain in your stomach that can lead to nausea and vomiting. This can exacerbate the symptoms of already existing stomach ulcers and other types of already present damage. The pain doesn’t necessarily end there. It can literally go end to end. When the capsaicin goes through your intestines and out the other end, triggering more TRPV1 pain receptors along the way, your bowel movements can be painful as well.

All of the above are real and not imagined reactions. For example, when your throat feels like it is swelling, it can actually be swelling and closing off your airway. Similarly, vomiting can be very real with the stomach acid going up through your esophagus causing damage along the way. You could see how such reactions when taken more to the extreme could end up being life-threatening. This can especially be the case if you have some underlying medical condition such as heart problem or a gastrointestinal problem like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, gallbladder problems, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Your first inclination when consuming spicy food might be to reach for some water and guzzle it. However, water is not going to help clear away capsaicin, which is an oil-based substance. As the saying goes, oil and water do not mix. In fact, water may make things worse by spreading the capsaicin further. So, instead of dealing with “heat” in only part of your mouth, water can spread the heat to all of your mouth and throat. A better solution is consume substances such as milk and bread, which can basically keep the capsaicin from binding the receptors.

Of course, another way to prevent the effects of spicy food is to not consume the food in the first place. Sure, there is evidence that eating spicy foods may be associated with positive health benefits such as lower cholesterol, weight loss via decreased appetite and increased metabolism, reduced acid production in the stomach, decreased pain from chronic conditions, improvement in skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis and even cancer prevention. However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to very, very spicy things. And as indicated earlier, there are real risks of consuming something that is very, very spicy.

This One Chip Challenge is yet another reminder that just because someone challenges you to do something doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe to do. There’s very little to gain from completing such a challenge except for maybe the entertainment of others. At the same time, while many people can get through a challenge without permanent damage, there can be the risk of more serious problems—really serious problems.

Bruce Y. Lee

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Everything you should be afraid of before doing a hot pepper challenge, constantine spyrou, apr 10, 2018.

Attempting a hot pepper challenge comes with the understanding that a lot of pain is going to be involved. The fiery poison within, called capsaicin, can incite symptoms ranging from a tingling on your tongue to "thunderclap headaches." This sudden and harsh head pain, which recently happened to someone that ate a Carolina Reaper, involves the constriction of the blood vessels in your head and neck. The swift change in pressure that results causes dry heaving and excruciating agony that can land the victim in the hospital.

However, that's not even the most dangerous aspect of a hot pepper challenge. The consumption of capsaicin can come with several health hazards — some mild, others potentially lethal. Here a few that you need to watch out for when attempting to show off your spicy mettle.

what is the ghost pepper challenge

Stomach Pains

These will typically arise if you're eating something way too spicy. The ensuing sensations can range from mildly discomforting to also feeling like there's a molten rock in your stomach. That's how I felt after taking on the One Chip Challenge, and it took at least a few hours for me to recover. Although, the pain from eating chilies isn't the worst thing they can do to your gut.

Stomach and Intestine Damage

Capsaicin can damage the interior mucus layers of your stomach and intestine. While they won't cause something like a stomach ulcer, all of the coughing, retching, and possible vomiting you're doing as a result of the heat might do just that. That, and the mucus breakdown means your stomach lining is more vulnerable to the caustic acid inside, which can lead to even more pain. Youch.

Because your body goes into red alert mode after consuming a nuclear-hot pepper, everything will tend to speed up. This can lead to hyperventilating, which is more common, as well as possible seizures. A couple of people who ate a fiery burger suffered from those once, and one child even died from a seizure induced by the ingestion of chili powder.

what is the ghost pepper challenge

A Hole In Your Esophagus

This actually happened. One man who ingested a hamburger topped with a ghost pepper puree was hospitalized after vomiting and experiencing stomach pain. Upon further examination, doctors found an inch-long tear in his esophagus, resulting from all of the throwing up caused by the fiery chilies.

"Thunderclap Headaches"

Also known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, this happens when the capsaicin induces the blood vessels near your head to tighten, as previously mentioned. It's rare for this to happen, but if your heat sensitivity is quite low, then I would be watchful and not go for the Carolina Reaper on the first try.

Anaphylactic Shock and Possible Death

The possibility of a hot pepper challenge killing you is out there, as shown earlier by the child who died from a seizure. What might be worse, though, is consuming enough capsaicin to cause an allergic reaction, even anaphylactic shock. One man who ate a plateful of fiery hot sauce went through just that, and was found dead of heart failure the following morning. This was likely due to an over-release of histamines, which cause anaphylaxis.

Of course, all of these disturbing tales of hot pepper poisoning resulted from some of the spiciest chilies out there. If you stay within your comfort zone, like Sriracha or Tabasco, you should be okay enjoying some capsaicin. It's when people don't know their limits and go too far that dangerous scenarios transpire.

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Man Sets New World Record for Eating the Most Ghost Peppers in One Minute

Hot-pepper-scarfing speed-eater Gregory Foster ate 17 Ghost peppers in 60 seconds, collecting his third world record.

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what is the ghost pepper challenge

Photo by: futurewalk/Getty Images

futurewalk/Getty Images

Hot news: Gregory Foster has done it again.

It’s just been a few months since news broke that the hot-sauce company owner claimed a Guinness World Record for eating three scorching-hot Carolina Reaper chili peppers in the least amount of time (8.72 seconds!). That world record, which Foster actually snapped in December 2021, was his second: In 2016, Foster collected his first hot-pepper-related world record for consuming the most Carolina Reaper peppers (120 grams) in one minute.

Now word has hit that Foster has broken a third hot-pepper-speed-eating record : This time, he collected the crown for eating the most Ghost peppers (a.k.a. Bhut Jolokia chili peppers, which register 1 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) per pepper. For comparison, jalapenos range from 2,500-8,000 SHU) in one minute. And the number of peppers Foster put away was seriously sizzling: 17 peppers, tipping the scales at a total of 110.5 grams (3.98 ounces), and unseating previous record holder, Mike Jack, of London, Ontario, Canada, who ate 97 grams (3.42 ounces) of the peppers in March 2019.

Foster, it turns out, set the new Ghost-pepper-scarfing record on November 14, 2021, but news of his fast-eating feat has only just hit, thanks to a video Guinness World Records just posted on YouTube in which Foster’s minute-long record-breaking Ghost-pepper-chili-eating session can be watched in full.

In the video, Foster’s concentration and capsaicin tolerance are apparent. Wearing gloves to protect his hands, a tie-dyed Inferno Farms T-shirt, and a remarkably neutral and admirably focused expression, Foster tucks pepper after pepper into his mouth, chewing and swallowing them as he goes, as a man holding a timer stands by.

(“I've got a good poker face!” Foster told Food Network after setting his previous record.)

When the time is up, Foster shows off his empty mouth and waits to drink.

Told that he has beaten the record for most Bhut Jolokia chili peppers eaten in a minute, Foster says what you’d imagine anyone would in that situation: “Oh, thank God!” he exclaims, still looking rather pained and not venturing to break a smile.

As he guzzles a Pepto Bismol-pink liquid with a half-and-half chaser, followed by some milk, one of the people who has witnessed Foster successfully complete his record attempt in a public park in San Diego, asks him how he feels.

“I’m on fire,” he replies.

Foster, who has dedicated himself for decades to increasing his tolerance for spicy foods, apparently eventually recovered enough to tell Guinness that the record attempt was “a personal challenge to see how far I can push myself and my love of the super hot peppers.”

Even so, Foster was pretty chill about his new record, telling Guinness he very much enjoyed eating chilis and pushing his boundaries.

"As a chili lover, I’ve been trying to advance the awareness and the excitement surrounding the super-hot chilis out there,” he said. “This attempt was solely a personal endeavor to achieve another Guinness World Record alongside my currently standing [ones].”

What hot-chili-pepper-speed-eating challenge will Foster tackle next? Who knows? But someone, please, ready the Pepto Bismol, half-and-half and milk!

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WATCH: Ghost pepper challenge goes terribly awry

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It’s the “ghost pepper challenge” gone wrong. Really wrong.

what is the ghost pepper challenge

In a video that has recently gone viral, racking up millions of views, the person behind the camera can be heard saying:

“Ghost pepper challenge! He’s not actually going to eat it but…”

It could be said that those were the infamous last words before the boy in the video swallowed a slice of a ghost pepper, also known as bhut jolokia and considered to be one of the hottest peppers in the world.

He innocently puts the sliver into his mouth as someone off camera warns, “Don’t swallow it!”

Seemingly afraid to chew, the boy swallows the fiery pepper, named after the way the heat sneaks up on a person .

In a desperate attempt to find refuge from the burning sensation, the boy jumps, cries and douses his mouth with tap water.

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“It’s hot! It’s hot!” he screams.

It was no doubt painful to swallow a pepper that scores 1,041,427 on the Scoville Scale – a hundred times hotter than an average jalapeno pepper.

But there is one man who has made the record books for eating more than 13 whole peppers in one sitting. American Jason McNabb consumed 66 grams of the pepper in two minutes.

It’s reported that the ghost pepper is so hot it can burn your skin with just a touch.

We absolutely do not suggest you try the ghost pepper challenge at home.

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what is the ghost pepper challenge

Poison Control

Is the One Chip Challenge dangerous?

Paqui one chip challenge

The Bottom Line

The Paqui One Chip Challenge is a social media challenge that involves consumption of an extremely spicy tortilla chip. The chip contains capsaicin, a compound found naturally in chili peppers. Capsaicin consumption typically causes mouth and throat pain but can also result in more serious health problems including trouble breathing, esophageal damage, and heart problems. The manufacturer started pulling the product from store shelves in September 2023, following a death reported hours after a healthy teenager participated in the challenge.

Paqui one chip challenge warning on package label

What is the Paqui One Chip Challenge?

The One Chip Challenge is a social media challenge promoted by Paqui, a tortilla chip company. Paqui sold individual packages containing one spicy chip and the label “One Chip Challenge”. The challenge involves eating the single spicy tortilla chip, then waiting as long as possible before eating or drinking anything else. The Paqui website challenged people to wait as long as possible after chip consumption, characterizing those who can last a full hour without eating or drinking as “invincible” (people who eat or drink a minute after eating the chip are dismissed as being “powerless”). Participants in this challenge were also encouraged to post their reactions on social media. 

How hot is the One Chip Challenge?

Because everyone’s sensation of taste is different, the hot and spicy flavor of the One Chip Challenge can vary among individuals. The hot or spicy sensation felt in the mouth and throat after eating chili peppers is due to the presence of capsaicin. The capsaicin content of foods is frequently assessed by using the Scoville heat units (SHU) scale. Bell peppers have zero SHU, while pure capsaicin contains approximately 15 million SHU. The Carolina Reaper pepper contains up to 2.2 million SHU, and the Naga Viper Pepper contains approximately 1.4 million SHU. The high SHU measurements indicate that both of these peppers are quite pungent and irritating to taste.

What is capsaicin?

Capsaicin is a naturally occurring compound that is the active ingredient in chili peppers. Capsaicin may be used by pepper plants as a natural defense against predators and fungal species. Although it is found in nature, capsaicin can also be synthesized through a chemical reaction. It is available in powder, liquid, cream, and spray formulations. Although capsaicin is colorless and odorless, it is highly pungent and irritating to the eyes, skin, and mouth of humans and animals. 

What is capsaicin used for?

Capsaicin is a component of some pepper spray products and bear spray devices and is described as being more irritating than mace. Capsaicin is involved in pain perception in the human body, and repeated applications of capsaicin to the skin can reduce the sensation of pain. Topical capsaicin is available as an arthritis cream and is sometimes also used as a treatment for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a disorder involving recurrent abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting in individuals who regularly use cannabis.

What peppers are in the One Chip Challenge?

The spicy peppers included in the One Chip Challenge vary each year. In 2023, the chip contains Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper peppers. Previous years’ versions have included Sichuan and Scorpion peppers in addition to the Carolina Reaper pepper. 

How long does the One Chip Challenge last?

Because capsaicin is highly irritating, most people will develop immediate irritation of the mouth and throat after consuming capsaicin-containing products such as the chip included in the Paqui One Chip Challenge. The irritating and painful signs and symptoms can last several hours, but can persist for days in some individuals.

What do you eat after the One Chip Challenge?

Because of its chemical composition, milk may be more effective than water in relieving mouth and throat irritation after consumption of capsaicin-containing foods. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching the One Chip Challenge chip, as capsaicin can transfer from your hands to other parts of the body (such as the face and eyes) and cause additional irritation. If capsaicin gets in your eyes, immediately irrigate the eyes with room-temperature water for 15-20 minutes.

Is the One Chip Challenge safe?

People who eat capsaicin-containing products, including tortilla chips featured in the Paqui One Chip Challenge, often experience mouth irritation, pain, or burning, along with intestinal discomfort. Capsaicin consumption can also cause more serious health problems, including shortness of breath, allergic reactions, chest pain, heart palpitations, and even heart attacks or strokes. Consumption of larger amounts of capsaicin can also cause repeated vomiting that can lead to life-threatening esophageal damage. Because of this, people should use caution when consuming foods or products that contain capsaicin. The One Chip Challenge is not recommended for children or teenagers, people that have food allergies, sensitivity to spicy foods, medical problems such as heart and lung disease, or who are pregnant. In September 2023, a 14-year-old boy died hours after taking the One Chip Challenge. 

What if the One Chip Challenge makes me sick?

If you or someone else experiences worrisome symptoms after participating in the One Chip Challenge, get guidance from Poison Control immediately. Help from poison control is available online from web POISON CONTROL and by phone at 1-800-222-1222. Both options are free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day.

Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD & Maryann Amirshahi, MD

Medical Toxicologists at The National Capital Poison Center

Poison Control Media Information

Did you find this page helpful? If so, we need your support. Poison Control is in constant competition with misinformation online. Links to or our web POISON CONTROL triage tool from other websites and blogs help internet searchers quickly find accurate information and Poison Control’s contact information in an emergency. If you use the content from this page, please provide attribution via a link back to this page,, or!/exclusions. By doing so, you could save a life. Thank you!

For media inquiries, please contact Krista Osterthaler at  [email protected] .

Call 1-800-222-1222 or

HELP ME online

Prevention Tips

Keep capsaicin-containing products, including hot peppers and pepper spray, out of reach of children and pets.

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching capsaicin-containing products.

Use caution when participating in social media challenges such as the One Chip Challenge, as harmful or unexpected side effects may occur.

Seek medical care immediately if you develop chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe headache, or other unexpected symptoms after consuming capsaicin. 

This Really Happened

Case 1: A 15-year-old boy consumed a Carolina Reaper pepper as a dare. Two days later, he developed a severe headache and high blood pressure during football practice. He took acetaminophen (Tylenol®), and went to an Emergency Department (ED) when the headache persisted. At the ED, he was initially diagnosed with a sinus infection and was discharged home on antibiotics. The headache persisted over the next few days and remained severe, so he went back to the ED where an MRI revealed an abnormal narrowing of the arteries in his brain. He was diagnosed with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction related to hot pepper ingestion after additional testing failed to find another cause for his condition. He made a full recovery and was discharged from the hospital.

Case 2: A 25-year-old man developed severe chest pain, 5 days after starting a new weight loss program that involved daily consumption of oral cayenne pepper pills. He went to an ED where he was diagnosed with a heart attack believed to be related to his repeated ingestion of capsaicin-containing cayenne pepper. He was then admitted to the hospital and treated with blood thinners, aspirin, and pain medications. Fortunately, he made a complete recovery, and had no further chest pain.

Case 3: A 14-year-old boy fainted at school shortly after participating in the One Chip Challenge and was taken to the school nurse.  His mother picked him up from school but he passed out again at home a few hours later. His family took him to the emergency department where he was pronounced dead. 

For More Information Refund Information

Paqui ‘One Chip Challenge’ Is Being Pulled From Shelves - The New York Times, 9/7/2023

Snack company removes spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’ product after teen’s death - The Washington Post, 9/7/2023

Capsaicin General Fact Sheet- National Pesticide Information Center Experts warn against the #OneChipChallenge allegedly sending kids to the hospital- New York Post , 9/19/2022

Watch CBS News

Have spicy food challenges become too extreme?

September 11, 2023 / 6:23 PM EDT / CBS/AP

The death of a 14-year-old boy following his participation in a foodmaker's "One Chip Challenge" that dared consumers to eat just one of its intensely spicy tortilla chips has renewed attention on the popularity — and risks — of spicy food challenges and other extreme dares on social media.

Paqui chips, a Hershey snack brand that created the challenge, announced on Thursday its decision to remove the product , packaged in coffin-shaped boxes, from store shelves. The company's move came six days after the death of  Harris Wolobah of Worcester, Massachusetts . Wolobah died hours after taking the spicy chip challenge. His family is waiting for a cause of death from the Massachusetts Medical Examiner's Office pending an autopsy. The results are not expected for several weeks. 

"I hope, I pray to God that no parents will go through what I'm going through," Harris's mother, Lois Wolobah, told WBZ-TV. "I miss my son so much. I miss him so much."

Old challenge, new medium

Spicy food challenges have been around for years. From local chile pepper eating contests to restaurant walls of fame for those who finished extra hot dishes, people around the world have been daring each other to eat especially fiery foods, with some experts pointing to the internal rush of competition and risk-taking.

But extremely spicy products created and marketed solely for the challenges — and possible internet fame — is a more recent phenomenon, and teens are particularly exposed to them because of social media, associate professor of psychology at Florida International University Elisa Trucco says.

There's a "glamorization of these challenges on social media," Trucco said. "You see a lot of 'likes' or comments (indicating) social status or popularity from these challenges, but you don't see a lot of the negative consequences — like the trips to the E.R. or other injuries."

Alexander DePaoli, an associate teaching professor of marketing at Northeastern University, added that people may put themselves through discomfort and share it online for a sense of "in-group belonging," similar to offline challenges as a game of truth or dare.

  • Fundraiser held to support family of teen who died after One Chip Challenge
  • Vigil to be held for Worcester teen who died after doing One Chip Challenge

Extreme hot sauces and peppers

A YouTube series called "Hot Ones," for example, rose to internet fame several years ago with videos of celebrities' reactions to eating spicy wings. Meanwhile, restaurants nationwide continue to offer in-person challenges — from Buffalo Wild Wings' "Blazin' Challenge" to the "Hell Challenge" of Wing King in Las Vegas. In both challenges, patrons over 18 can attempt to eat a certain amount of wings doused in extra hot sauce in limited time without drinking or eating other food.

Chile pepper eating contests are also regularly hosted around the world. Last year, Gregory Foster ate 10 Carolina Reaper chillies, which Guinness World Records has named the hottest in the world, at a record time of 33.15 seconds in San Diego, California.

In most cases, people will choose to participate in challenges that they are trained for or don't consider to be truly dangerous. But a line is crossed when someone gets hurt, DePaoli noted.

While the autopsy results for Wolobah are still pending, the teen's family allege that the One Chip Challenge is responsible for his September 1 death. The product, manufactured by Paqui, instructs participants to eat just one chip and then see how long they can go without consuming other food and water.

Videos show people gagging, begging for water

Sales of the chip seem largely driven by people posting videos on social media of them or their friends, including teens and children, eating the chips and then reacting to the heat. Some videos show people gagging, coughing and begging for water.

Since Wolobah's death, Paqui has asked retailers to stop selling the product and some health experts have pointed to potential dangers of eating such spicy products under certain circumstances, particularly depending on the amount of capsaicin, a component that gives chile peppers their heat.

But there are plenty of similar products that remain online and on store shelves, including Red Hot Reaper's One Chip Challenge, Blazing Foods' Death Nut Challenge and Tube of Terror Challenge as well as Wilder Toys' Hot Ones Truth or Dab sauce game. The Associated Press reached out to each company after Paqui pulled its own product, but did not receive a response.

DePaoli said it's not unusual for companies to engage in viral marketing.

"It is unusual, however, to have something where the brand actually wants you to put something into your body," he said. Companies "don't want to be liable for that."

Despite warnings or labels specifying adult-use only, the products can still get into the hands of young people who might not understand the risks, Trucco added.

"There's a reason why these challenges are appealing," she said. "This type of marketing sells."

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  • Most Dangerous Dares and Trends You Need to Warn Your...
  • The Hot Pepper Challenge: Eating the hottest pepper...

Most Dangerous Dares and Trends You Need to Warn Your Children About

what is the ghost pepper challenge

The Hot Pepper Challenge: Eating the hottest pepper in the world alone can cause a few health scares

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

The hot pepper challenge, also known as the ghost pepper challenge or chili pepper challenge, involves filming yourself eating a particularly spicy chili pepper then sharing the video on social media. Habanero peppers and ghost peppers are typically chosen for their particularly intense, hot-and-spicy nature. When consumed, chili peppers release capsaicin, an irritant that produces a burning sensation . This intense, heat sensation causes painful burning and profuse sweating. In some cases, eating peppers with high concentrations of capsaicin can even cause vomiting and hallucinations .

Most of the time, the consumption of chili peppers tends to be fairly harmless, resulting in minor, temporary discomfort and possibly nausea. However, because the pepper challenge specifically involves eating the spiciest peppers with the highest concentrations of capsaicin, the challenge has caused a few alarming health scares. In September 2016, five Ohio schoolchildren were hospitalized after eating ghost peppers as part of a challenge. In another incident, a man eating ghost peppers as part of an eating competition experienced a spontaneous esophageal rupture, which tore a hole in the man’s throat and caused his left lung to collapse.

Photo source: Youtube

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Ghost Pepper Challenge

  • View history

Overview [ ]

The Ghost Pepper Challenge is a weekly challenge added on 21 May 2022 [1] alongside the Carolina Reaper Gauntlet that takes place on hand-selected, rotating maps . Players are required to be at least level 15 in order to play, as the challenge is not friendly to pure beginners. It features a Grandmaster -style structure which requires players to clear 100 waves whilst being faced with new, exclusive enemies . In order to spice gameplay up even more, certain modifications [2] and mutations can be applied, some of which are exclusive to the pepper challenges [3] .


The Ghost Pepper Challenge and Carolina Reaper Gauntlet are disabled if another event is active as to make room for it.

Enemies [ ]

References [ ].

  • ↑ May 21st Hybrid Café Update!
  • ↑ Base health, player amount, etc.
  • ↑ These mutations include Gunners Banned, Selling Disabled, and One Master Only.
  • ↑ May 28 Hybrid Café Update!
  • Share full article


Supported by

Fatality Draws Scrutiny to Spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’ Product

Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old in Worcester, Mass., died after he ate a Paqui brand tortilla chip dusted with two of the world’s hottest peppers, his mother said.

A coffin-shaped box bearing a stylized image of a red skull with a blue tongue sits next to a dark tortilla chip. The text says, “One Chip Challenge 2022” and “Turns your tongue blue!”

By Rebecca Carballo and Remy Tumin

Update: A subsidiary of the Hershey Company said it was pulling the “One Chip Challenge” from store shelves .

One of the last things Harris Wolobah, 14, of Worcester, Mass., ate before he died was a single tortilla chip in a coffin-shaped box that bore an image of a skull with a snake coiled around it, his mother said.

Lois Wolobah said her son’s school called last Friday to tell her he was sick and that she needed to come and get him.

When she arrived, Harris was clutching his stomach in the nurse’s office, she said in an interview on Tuesday.

He showed her a picture of what he had just consumed: a single Paqui chip, dusted with two of the hottest peppers in the world, the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper. The label on the box said “One Chip Challenge” and carried a warning — “Inside: One Extremely Hot Chip.” Paqui tortilla chips are made by Amplify Snack Brands, a subsidiary of the Hershey Company.

Ms. Wolobah said she took her son home, but after about two hours he passed out and was rushed to a hospital, where he died. He had faced no underlying health conditions, she said.

The cause of death was not immediately clear; it will be up to 12 weeks before the results of an autopsy are available, Tim McGuirk, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said.

But Ms. Wolobah said she believed the chip had jeopardized her son’s health.

“I just want there to be an awareness for parents to know that it’s not safe,” Ms. Wolobah said. “It needs to be out of the market completely.”

The Paqui “One Chip Challenge” has been criticized for making people sick in the past, but this is the first time someone has linked it to a fatality. After The Boston Globe reported on the teenager’s death , the story spread to other local and national outlets.

“We are deeply saddened by the news report and express our condolences to the family,” a Paqui spokeswoman, Kim Metcalfe, said in a statement. “It would be inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further.”

The Hershey Company bought Amplify, which is based in Austin, Texas, for $1.6 billion in 2017.

Until Tuesday, marketing materials for the Paqui One Chip Challenge, which sells for $9.99, dared customers to wait as long as possible after eating the chip before eating or drinking anything, and then to post their reactions on social media. “How long can you last before you spiral out?” the Paqui website asked . That language had been removed from the site by Wednesday.

Since this year’s chip was introduced last month, a new round of videos have circulated showing people begging for water , or shoveling ice cream into their mouths, after eating one.

The packaging carries a prominent warning that the chip should be kept out of the reach of children and is intended only for adult consumption. People who are pregnant or who have “any medical conditions” should not eat the chip, nor should those who are sensitive or allergic to spicy foods, peppers, night shade plants or capsaicin , the compound in chili peppers that is responsible for burning and irritation.

The package advises that anyone who experiences breathing trouble, fainting or extended nausea after eating the chip should seek medical attention.

Harris Wolobah is not the first child who has sought medical care after eating the chip. School officials in California and Texas told the “Today” show website last year that students had been taken to the hospital after eating one.

Also last year, about 30 public school students in Clovis, N.M., experienced health issues after eating the chip, KOB-TV of Albuquerque reported . As a preventive measure, the Huerfano School District in Colorado banned the chips, according to a post on its Facebook page .

In a 2020 study , researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center detailed the “serious complications” that can result from eating the Carolina Reaper pepper, noting that a 15-year-old boy had suffered an acute cerebellar stroke two days after eating one on a dare. The Carolina Reaper has been measured at more than two million Scoville heat units , the scale used to measure how hot peppers are. The Naga Viper has been measured at just under 1.4 million Scoville units . Jalapeño peppers are typically rated at between 2,000 and 8,000 units .

But that has not stopped the curious.

Colin Mansfield of Beaumont, Calif., and his nephew Cole Roe, 15, ate the chip together over FaceTime and Mr. Mansfield shared the video on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Mr. Mansfield, who makes his own hot sauce, said that it was like a “really spicy curry” and that the heat began to wear off after about 10 minutes. (His nephew, he said, needed a drink after 30 seconds.)

But that’s when another side effect kicked in for both of them: a crippling stomachache.

“I was on the floor, in a fetal position,” Mr. Mansfield said, adding that he wouldn’t have eaten the chip had he known that it would feel as if “somebody put you on the ground and kicked you in the stomach.”

Devin McClain and Jade Dian, who live in Houston, said they had also experienced stomach pains after recording themselves eating the chip — and then chasing it with water, milk and ice cream — for their YouTube channel.

“It was instant pain,” Ms. Dian said. “The milk was not helping, the ice cream was not helping.”

Mr. McClain said that even after the intensity of the heat had faded in his mouth, he could still feel it in his body.

“You could feel it spread; that’s the worst part, honestly,” he said.

Both suffered stomach pains into the next morning, they said. Would they try it again?

“Not in 2023,” Mr. McClain said. “Unless it was highly requested by viewers.”

An earlier version of this article misidentified the institution that studied Carolina Reaper risks in 2020. It was the University of Mississippi Medical Center, not the National Center for Biotechnological Information, which provided online access to the study.

How we handle corrections

Rebecca Carballo is a reporter based in New York. More about Rebecca Carballo

Remy Tumin is a reporter for The Times covering breaking news and other topics. More about Remy Tumin

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Invite your FIRE-EATING pals to take the Ghost Pepper challenge. Spread the heat by spreading the word!

what is the ghost pepper challenge

What is a Ghost Pepper?

The ghost pepper is one of the world's hottest chili peppers, known for its fiery spiciness. It's small, wrinkled, and can be red or other colours when ripe. Eating it can feel like a fiery explosion in your mouth, so handle with care!

What is the Ghost Pepper Burrito?

Our Ghost Pepper Signature Burrito comes in two options: "Hotter Than Hell" for those who love extreme heat and "Wimpy" for those who prefer a milder spice. Both versions feature tasty ingredients like grilled chicken, ghost pepper fig marmalade, and ghost pepper bacon. The "Hotter Than Hell" version takes it up a notch with an extra dose of ghost pepper sauce!

What are the available heat levels?

There are two available heat levels: Wimpy (not too spicy) and Hotter Than Hell (why-did-I-do-this-to-myself spicy).

Can I have the Ghost Pepper Burrito in all three sizes?

Our Ghost Pepper Burrito is available in a regular size, but if you're really hungry, we can make it "Mucho" by using a larger flour or whole wheat tortilla. So, you have options to satisfy your appetite just the way you like it!

Where can I order the Ghost Pepper Burrito?

You've got options to enjoy our Ghost Pepper Burrito! Visit any Mucho Burrito store in Canada, order online for pickup or delivery, and even use popular delivery apps like SkipTheDishes, Uber Eats, and DoorDash at select locations to satisfy your cravings. It's all about making it convenient for you!

Can I buy my own bottle of Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce?

Right now, we don't sell our Ghost Pepper sauce for you to take home, but you can still enjoy it with your meal as an extra for a small additional cost. We're here to spice up your dish however you like!

Can I change the ingredients of the Ghost Pepper Burrito?

Our Ghost Pepper Burrito is served in one signature recipe because it's carefully crafted to bring out the best flavours and combinations. Changing the ingredients could alter the delicious taste we've perfected, and we want you to savour the very best!



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  1. Hot pepper challenge

    Metro. Retrieved 20 July 2018. ^ Arens, Ann (2016). "Esophageal Rupture After Ghost Pepper Ingestion". The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 51 (6): e141-e143. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2016.05.061. PMID 27693067. ^ Stone, Judy (16 March 2016). "Lethal In Disguise: The Health Hazards of Pepper Spray". Forbes. Retrieved 30 July 2016.

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  8. Hot pepper challenge

    The hot pepper challenge is an Internet viral video fad, consisting of a food challenge that involves filming oneself while eating and swallowing a chili pepper that is high on the Scoville scale and known for its piquant qualities, in particular the cayenne pepper, Thai pepper, habanero, ghost pepper, and the Trinidad moruga scorpion pepper; th...

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  10. World's first virtual ghost pepper challenge will have you in stitches

    October 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Dave, from Canada was more than bold about his ghost pepper tolerance. He was absolutely cocky. His wife grew a patch of various hot peppers and he decided to challenge everyone he knew to an eating contest. The idea was to create some hype and stage an event that raised money for a local charity.

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    American Jason McNabb consumed 66 grams of the pepper in two minutes. Story continues below advertisement. It's reported that the ghost pepper is so hot it can burn your skin with just a touch ...

  12. Is the One Chip Challenge dangerous?

    The Bottom Line The Paqui One Chip Challenge is a social media challenge that involves consumption of an extremely spicy tortilla chip. The chip contains capsaicin, a compound found naturally in chili peppers.

  13. Have spicy food challenges become too extreme?

    - CBS News MoneyWatch Have spicy food challenges become too extreme? September 11, 2023 / 6:23 PM EDT / CBS/AP

  14. The Ghost Paper Challenge: How To Play It

    Begin shortly before 3am. Turn off all the lights in your house. Take up your supplies and go to your chosen room and door. Close the door. Place the piece of paper in front of the door. Place the candle next to the piece of paper and light it with the matches or lighter. Keep an eye on your timekeeping device.

  15. Ghost pepper

    Scoville rating In 2000, India's Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a Scoville rating for the ghost pepper of 855,000 SHUs, [18] and in 2004 a rating of 1,041,427 SHUs was made using HPLC analysis. [19]

  16. The Hot Pepper Challenge: Eating the hottest pepper in the world alone

    The hot pepper challenge, also known as the ghost pepper challenge or chili pepper challenge, involves filming yourself eating a particularly spicy chili pepper then sharing the video on social media. Habanero peppers and ghost peppers are typically chosen for their particularly intense, hot-and-spicy nature.

  17. Ghost Pepper Challenge

    Overview The Ghost Pepper Challenge is a weekly challenge added on 21 May 2022 [1] alongside the Carolina Reaper Gauntlet that takes place on hand-selected, rotating maps. Players are required to be at least level 15 in order to play, as the challenge is not friendly to pure beginners.

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  20. Teenager's Death Has Paqui Spicy 'One Chip Challenge' Under Scrutiny

    By Rebecca Carballo and Remy Tumin Published Sept. 6, 2023 Updated Sept. 7, 2023 Update: A subsidiary of the Hershey Company said it was pulling the "One Chip Challenge" from store shelves.

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    Ghost Pepper Challenge. Ghost Pepper Challenge, York, Pennsylvania. 698 likes. You need to take the Ghost Pepper Challenge! if you feel you are up to it, contact us.

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    0:00 / 20:12 Intro Ghost Pepper Challenge - CRAZY Stahl Racing 2.69K subscribers 717 views 2 years ago We eat ghost peppers, and immediately regret it! They are brutally hot! One of us...

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    Invite your FIRE-EATING pals to take the Ghost Pepper challenge. Spread the heat by spreading the word! FAQ. What is a Ghost Pepper? The ghost pepper is one of the world's hottest chili peppers, known for its fiery spiciness. It's small, wrinkled, and can be red or other colours when ripe. Eating it can feel like a fiery explosion in your mouth ...