Before the advent of TikTok, we hardly ever heard from Poison Control. But as challenges continue to go viral and people continue to eat questionable foods for views, Poison Control is staying busy! Their latest warning concerns the Paqui One Chip Challenge, a viral trend on TikTok that is causing all sorts or problems for school districts and people’s stomachs and throats.
You’ve likely seen a handful of these videos on your feed, a person eats a single spicy high capsaicin — and frankly disgusting looking — tortilla chip and slowly devolves from a normal functioning human to an absolute mess of watery eyes and gag reflexes. The idea is to eat the chip and see how long you can last before needing to drink or eat something for relief. It’s the sort of challenge that smart people see and say ‘not for me,’ and fun people see and say ‘I bet I can handle it.’ Paqui’s latest tortilla chip features a blend of Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers which are no joke, each pepper contains over two million Scoville Heat Units, so this is well beyond something you’d find on Hot Ones.
Even if your spice tolerance is high, you’re not getting through this chip without losing your mind or worse, which is why Poison Control has an official page (written by an MD!) explaining the dangers of taking part in the One Chip Challenge. According to Poison Control, high capsaicin consumption can cause mouth irritation, pain, and intestinal discomfort, as well as 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.”
So, you know, fun times!
While it would seem like serious instances are extremely rare, the chips do in fact come with a warning label that states “keep out of reach of children,” which, as you might remember from being a teenager, is absolute cat nip to high schoolers. Most of the people taking part in the One Chip Challenge on TikTok seem to be incredibly young, and according to local Atlanta Georgia broadcaster 13WMAZ, the local Treutlen Middle and High School has seen 20 students missing class from becoming ill with the chips, with hospitalizations also occurring in California, Texas, and Alabama. That’s a strong chip!
So maybe skip out on this challenge, though feel free to live vicariously through a bunch of teenagers, college students, and full-grown adults who don’t know any better below! They might be burning their mouths but it looks like the kids are ultimately alright. So you know, feel free to laugh.