Health Canada has initiated a recall of the “One Chip Challenge” snacks, produced by the Paqui brand, following reports of adverse reactions from consumers. These triggers led to the recall by Amplify Snack Brands Inc., the company responsible for the creation of the snack, in response to several instances of consumer illness linked to the product.
The recall was expedited in light of the recent death of a teenager in Massachusetts. The cause of the 14-year-old’s passing on September 1 is yet to be confirmed following an ongoing autopsy, however, the parents have attributed his untimely demise to the One Chip Challenge.
A representative of Texas-based Paqui has disclosed that the One Chip Challenge has a very limited distribution in Canada. The snack in question, made from a potent mix of the Carolina Reaper and Naga Viper peppers, has garnered a buzz on social media. It involves participants consuming the fiery chip and enduring as long as they possibly can without intake of water or any other foods.
According to the brand’s official website, the product is intended for adult consumption only. Warning labels prominently highlight that the product is not suitable for children, pregnant individuals, those with food allergies, intolerance to spicy food, or existing health conditions.
Expressing sorrow and empathy, the spokesperson also conveyed the company’s condolences to the bereaved family of Harris Wolobah. Expressing concern over the increasing trend of teens and other sensitive individuals disregarding these warnings, Paqui reassured that while the One Chip Challenge meets food safety standards, the product is being removed from retail shelves as a safety measure.
Simultaneously, the company has pledged to extend refunds to customers who have already purchased the product.
In the wake of the controversy, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a thorough food safety investigation, and has not ruled out the potential recall of other products. When queried about which Canadian retailers stock the one-chip, an agency spokesperson stated an inability to provide this information as of Friday evening. The agency further explained the complexities involved in food safety investigations, reiterating their commitment to swift actions and decisions when faced with potential unsafe food situations.