SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – You may have seen it on Tik Tok, Facebook or even Twitter: The Paqui One Chip Challenge.
This year’s version advertises a promise to turn tongues blue as a sign you have beaten the heat. However, sometimes, the heat hits back.
“My son had made it maybe 5 minutes if that,” said Brandy Reeves. “And before he had to start downing tons and tons and tons of milk like it was just burning. He’s like, ‘it’s ripping up my insides.’”
Paqui is a brand of chips that offers these challenges, selling only one chip per pack, and periodically releasing new versions. In addition to turning the tongue blue, the 2022 version contains Carolina Reaper pepper and Scorpion pepper. It’s become a social media trend for people to take the challenge by eating the chip and seeing how long they can go without eating or drinking anything for relief.
Reeves’ two sons both tried the chip this week.
“[My younger son] had a much bigger chunk off of it than my older son did. It instantly made him vomit and it instantly gave him a nosebleed,” she said.
Parents like Reeves are worried about the chip challenge and how easy it is for kids to buy at gas stations or grocery stores.
“I just think that if we have to be 18 to buy something like spray paint or Elmer’s glue, then we should have to be 18 to buy something that could be that harmful to your body,” Reeves said.
Wes Mills, the general manager of Pepper Palace in Springfield says the chip is 200 times hotter than the average jalapeno.
“The Paqui chip has the Carolina Reaper and the Scorpion Pepper in it and coated all over it,” Mills said. “A Carolina Reaper is around 2.2 million Scoville and Scorpion Peppers are around 2 million. A jalapeno is around 10,000.”
A Scoville rating is how spiciness is measured.
“If you eat the chip on an empty stomach, you will get stomach cramps, you will have pain several hours afterwards,” Mills warned. “I recommend grabbing gloves because it will make your eyes water.”
“A natural thing is to rub your eyes. Even after you wash your hands, it’s possible to have the residual oils on your hands so you don’t want that,” he said.
Reeves said she wants to bring awareness to parents who don’t know about social media challenges circulating online.
“I think it’s important that people know…like the people that – like me – that don’t get on TIK TOK, they need to know,” Reeves said.