JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Educators in Jamestown are sounding the alarm after students became violently ill while taking part in a new online snack trend at school.
Known as the “One Chip Challenge”, Jamestown Public Schools are now warning parents about the dangers of this internet craze.
We spoke with Jamestown School’s Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker about this chip. While it may be marketed as a fun game, two students in Jamestown had to seek emergency medical treatment after taking a bite.
“They both happened on school grounds, one was part of a student’s lunch that they brought and another one was part of a snack that they had brought to school, one for sure with the parent’s knowledge, I’m not sure about the other one although I believe both were purchased by parents for their kids,” said Whitaker.
The Superintendent believes that parents just aren’t aware of what this chip contains.
“There’s the Red’s Hot Sauce which is kind of the more milder, flavorful hot sauce, that’s about 500 scoville units. Tabasco that people are familiar with, most often maybe with eggs for breakfast or something, it’s pretty spicy,” Whitaker said. “A lot of people find that too spicy, that’s about 3,000 to 5,000 scoville units so it’s about 10 times hotter than Red’s Hot,” he continued. “These Carolina Reapers, Scorpion peppers, the capsaicin that’s on these chips is about 2,000,000 scoville units.”
While there is a warning on the back of the box, it’s possible that it is overlooked by parents.
“What can happen is there can be trouble breathing, there can be esophageal issues, there can be elevated heart rate, heart conditions, all sorts of circulatory problems. Even though it appears to be a silly game, isn’t it funny that it’s spicy and hot, that may be the case for Tabasco or maybe some jalapeños or habaneros, but not for something like this, this is not something to play around with,” Whitaker explained.
The chip is readily available across the region, in fact, a store clerk at the Chautauqua Mall’s FYE told us it is among their most popular items. There is no age restriction for purchase.
In the end, Whitaker feels the company’s branding tempts kids.
“Part of the problem with this hot chip challenge is that there’s no challenge, it’s just thoroughly invited out of whole-cloth by the company in order to sell this product. They even name levels, if you can go five minutes without eating or drinking something then you’re a certain level, but if you go an hour without eating or drinking something then you’re invincible, you get these fake titles that is really just a marketing ploy,” Whitaker said.
Going forward, the Jamestown Public School District is spreading awareness about the dangers of this challenge to parents, and staff has been notified to keep an eye out for this hazardous snack which would be confiscated if discovered by teachers.