After gaining viral attention in recent days, Paqui announced that it is removing its spicy tortilla chips from grocery store shelves amid complaints the chips were making children ill.
The announcement comes days after the family of a 14-year-old from Massachusetts blamed the spicy chip challenge for the boy’s death. Also earlier this week, a Florida father told Scripps News West Palm Beach the chip challenge caused six elementary students to need medical attention.
Because of the incidents, Paqui said it is offering refunds for the products. Those with tortilla chips can call 1-866-528-6848 for a refund, the company said.
“The Paqui One Chip Challenge is intended for adults only, with clear and prominent labeling highlighting the chip is not for children or anyone sensitive to spicy foods or who has food allergies, is pregnant or has underlying health conditions,” the company said. “We have seen an increase in teens and other individuals not heeding these warnings. As a result, while the product continues to adhere to food safety standards, out of an abundance of caution, we are actively working with our retailers to remove the product from shelves.”
This was the seventh year Paqui led the One Chip Challenge. The company said the chips were made with two of the hottest peppers in the world, the Carolina Reaper pepper and Scorpion pepper.
Last month, the company encouraged “fans who are brave enough to face The Reaper” to share their experience on social media by showing off their blue tongue.
Prior to Paqui’s announcement, Walgreens had announced it was voluntarily pulling the chips off shelves.
“We are currently in contact with the supplier on appropriate next steps to address reports of customer concerns,” Walgreens said in a statement.
D’Anton Patrick questioned why children were allowed to buy the product in the first place.
“The box says keep out of the hands of children. It says it’s for adult consumption only. Why are y’all selling it to a 12-year-old child?” Patrick said.
The Carolina Reaper pepper is certified by Guinness World Records as the hottest chili pepper in the world at 1,641,183 Scoville Heat Units.
By comparison, the National Institute of Standards and Technology says a normal jalapeno pepper has between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville Heat Units.