The Hot Chip Challenge consists of one tortilla chip, sold in a coffin-shaped box, including a protective glove to pick up the chip. The extra-hot slice contains a generous dose of a blend of four hot peppers: Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Habanero, and Red Jalapeno. About 20 percent of the chip is made up of a chili blend.
Until recently, the Carolina Reaper was the hottest chili pepper in the world, ranking between 1.8 million and 2.2 million on the Scoville scale. For context: regular Tabasco is only 2500-5000. Pepper spray ranges between 2 million and 5.3 million on the scale. Pure capsaicin – the substance that makes peppers hot – is worth between 15 and 16 million on the Scoville scale.
The boy died
The hot chip challenge has become a trend on social media, with users sharing videos of themselves filming their reactions while eating the very hot product. But: Many children in the United States ended up in the hospital after eating the American version. A 14-year-old boy from Massachusetts died after eating steak. According to the family, this was due to the product, although this has not been officially proven.
Producer Paqui announced in September last year that it had removed the super-hot chip from shelves “out of an abundance of caution”. The company emphasized that the product is intended for adults and that this is also indicated on the chips, but more and more teenagers are consuming it. According to Baki, the product meets all food safety conditions.
The European variant comes from the Czech Republic and was sold in most EU countries at the end of last year. Last year, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) said in its response to the US ban that it was not concerned about the European version.
Germany was the first to ban the sale of chips, at the end of 2023. Belgium did the same at the beginning of this year. The European Union has now also banned the product, after health authorities in Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Italy called for it.
“The Hot Chip Challenge product line has been evaluated as a hazardous food, based on laboratory results and a subsequent study on the health risks to consumers due to the high dose of capsaicin,” the manufacturer said on the website. As a result, sales of this product in the European Union have been suspended. A recall will follow.