Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) has announced the recall of “Hot Chips,” which are famous among teens and young adults in the world of TikTok who engage in the ‘”Hot Chip Challenge,” due to the dangerously high levels of capsaicin found in the chips.
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TikTok users can be seen engaging in the Hot Chip Challenge where they sometimes try to eat one, two or more of the extra spicy chips, and some can even be seen feeding the chips to toddlers. Users who “unbox” the chips on TikTok can be seen opening a red box which resembles a casket, putting on black single use gloves and opening a small package the size of a teabag that reads “RIP” on the outside and contains just one chip. They then proceed to try to eat the chip on camera without showing any adverse reaction, in an act of bravado.
The chips are produced by the Czech company “Hot-Chip” and EFET was informed of the recall through the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).
Capsaicin is an active component of chili peppers and is considered to be an irritant that causes a burning sensation when it comes in contact with any tissue. EFET warns that high levels of capsaicin can have health consequences, and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, burning eyes and irritation to mucous membranes.
The component is a key ingredient in a variety of brands of extra spicy chips that are found on the market and is has been suspected to be linked to the death of a 14-year-old in the United States who was participating in the TikTok craze known as the “Hot Chip Challenge,” also known as the “One Chip Challenge.”
The Hot Chip Challenge and the One Chip Challenge is a competition on TikTok where youth try to consume as many extra spicy chips as possible from a variety of different brands. There are a number of such spicy chips found on the market, including in Greece, such as Hot Chips, Paqui and Takis. Following the death of the 14-year-old, reports noted that Paqui states on its website that it chips have Carolina Reaper pepper and Naga Viper pepper, which are considered some of the spiciest, and come with a warning that they should be kept out of the reach of children and are “intended for adult consumption.”
The above being said, spicy chips, at least in Greece, can be purchased by all ages and are found at kiosks, supermarkets and convenience stores.