Massachusetts teen died from eating spicy chip on social media challenge

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A Massachusetts teenager who participated in a social media challenge where users eat a spicy tortilla chip died from eating a large quantity of chile pepper extract and also had a congenital heart defect, according to autopsy results.

Harris Wolobah, from the city of Worcester, died on Sept. 1, 2023, after eating the chip manufactured by Paqui, a Texas-based subsidiary of the Hershey Co.

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Wolobah died of cardiopulmonary arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration,” according to the autopsy from the Chief Office of the Medical Examiner.
Capsaicin is the component that gives chile peppers their heat.

“Capsaicin consumption can also cause more serious health problems including chest pain, heart palpitations, and even heart attacks. 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,” she wrote in an article about the Paqui challenge on the website

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