Tuesday 14, November
Calls for ban after Hot Chip Challenge lands Berlin teenagers in hospital
For €10, this is what you get: a coffin-shaped box containing a single tortilla chip in a sachet and a black rubber glove with which to hold it. According to its manufacturer, this tortilla chip is coated in the “hottest chilli in the world” and they are encouraging customers to share videos of themselves eating it.
The response has been enormous. Videos have been shared on TikTok showing people from all walks of life, including police officers on break, attempting the challenge all over the city. You might say the reaction has been too enthusiastic. Several teenagers are reportedly now in hospital after joining in on the trend, leading to calls for the product to be banned. Elsewhere in Germany, the product has already been forbidden: Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony have already removed the item from shops.
Concentrations of capsaicin, the substance which gives chillis their spiciness, can vary wildly and, while the item remains widely available in Berlin, the consumer protection centre does not guarantee it as a safe food. Five young people were admitted to the Virchow Clinic in Berlin, with one teenager suffering from pre-existing conditions currently in the intensive care unit following the stunt.
Apparently the manufacturer based in the Czech Republic intends to stop exporting the product, but to relaunch at a later date with a slightly weaker product.