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Spicy Chip Challenge Sending Participants to Hospital

People reported nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and difficulty breathing that lasted over 24 hours.

We've all been challenged to eat various spicy foods. It usually doesn't go further than discomfort, scrambling for soothing liquids and others laughing at our expense. For a few youths in California who attempted the “One Chip Challenge,” it ended with a trip to the hospital. 

The Lodi News-Sentinel reports the principal of the California high school said that consuming the chip has led to students becoming ill, being sent home and being referred to the emergency room because of reactions to the substance. 

Other schools across the country reported nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and difficulty breathing that can last over 24 hours as a result of the trend making its way around social media sites.  

The challenge involves eating just one chip and seeing how long an individual can last without eating or drinking anything else. However, this chip is coated with Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers. 

These peppers possess a rating as high as 2.2 million and 1.2 million units on the Scoville scale, respectively. For comparison, a jalapeno pepper only reaches up to 8,000. 

The One Chip Challenge comes from Paqui, a company that makes tortilla chips in five flavors. Paqui began the One Chip Challenge in 2016 with limited availability and has brought it back annually. 

Paqui's website labels degrees of success with a scale that reads, "How long can you last before getting owned?" Owned, meaning eating or drinking anything else. 

The scale ranks five minutes as "powerless," 10 minutes as "powerful," 30 minutes as "supercharged," and one hour as "invincible." Those who record themselves attempting the challenge can appear on the site's "Wall of Infamy."

According to Jon Dipierro, a co-host of a YouTube show, The Lava Boys, who did the 2020 challenge, "The slow-building and extremely scorching burn from the Carolina Reaper dust on this chip should not be taken lightly. The chip is super dry, which doesn't help once the fruitiness of the reaper dissipates and all you are left with is a rising heat that has no brakes." 

Paqui warns customers to “Not eat if you are sensitive to spicy foods, allergic to peppers, nightshades or capsaicin, or are pregnant or have any medical conditions.”

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