'One chip challenge' caused teen's death, autopsy concludes

The "one chip challenge" on social media caused the death of a Massachusetts teen who ingested too much chili pepper extract, according to an autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press.

Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old high school sophomore from Worcester, Massachusetts, died Sept. 1, 2023, of cardiopulmonary arrest "in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration," the autopsy report concludes. Wolobah also had an enlarged heart and a congenital heart defect. 

The chip, sold individually and wrapped in a foil coffin-shaped box, comes with a warning that it’s only for adult consumption, but that hasn’t stopped teens from getting their hands on them. Reports say three California high school students were hospitalized after doing the challenge, and paramedics responded to a school in Minnesota where seven students got sick from eating the chips. 


The Paqui "one chip challenge" caused the death of a Massachusetts teen, an autopsy report concludes (Photo by Sarah Dussault/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

The warning label on the chip’s packaging says it’s meant for the "vengeful pleasure of intense heat and pain."

RELATED: ‘One Chip Challenge’ products to be pulled from store shelves following teen’s death

Paqui, the chipmaker, pulled the product off of shelves shortly after Wolobah’s death, but the company promoted the challenge on its website – testing one’s ability to eat the chip without drinking any liquids to relieve the burning sensation, FOX Business reports.  

"How long can you last before you spiral out," the company asked potential buyers online.

The Associated Press and FOX Business contributed to this report.