The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation into the One Chip Challenge.
The investigation comes as the manufacturer of the extremely spicy tortilla chip pulls the product from Canadian and U.S. shelves after a teen’s death in Massachusetts.
An autopsy is pending, but the 14-year-old’s parents are blaming the challenge.
A spokesperson for Texas-based Paqui says the One Chip Challenge is sold “in very limited distribution in Canada.”
Participants in the social media challenge eat the chip containing Carolina Reaper and Naga Viper peppers and then see how long they can go without drinking water or eating other food afterward.
Paqui says the product is labelled to warn it is for adults only and not intended for people who have medical conditions, are pregnant, are sensitive to spicy foods or are allergic to the ingredients.
The Paqui spokesperson says the company is “deeply saddened” and expresses its condolences to Harris Wolobah’s family.
She says Paqui has seen an increase in teen usage and is voluntarily removing the product from store shelves out of an abundance of caution.
Paqui is also offering refunds to people who have purchased the product.
The Canadian Press asked the food inspection agency which Canadian stores carry the chip but a spokesperson said the agency was unable to provide that information as of Friday evening.
“Food safety investigations are complex and involve several essential steps to determine if a food recall is required and what specific products to recall. When dealing with potentially unsafe food, the CFIA acts as quickly as possible to collect information and make decisions,” the CFIA said in an email.
— With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2023.
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