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»Hot Chip Challenge« packs: »Dangerous mischief«

Photo: Doreen Garud / dpa

After investigations of extremely sharp chips used in Internet challenges, the Hessian Ministry of Consumer Protection is currently examining possible consequences. In the first half of October, the state laboratory examined 24 individual packages, a ministry spokeswoman said.

The trigger was reports from Hesse and other federal states that children and adolescents had to be treated in hospital after eating a corn chip in the "Hot Chip Challenge".

The samples were characterized by an extreme sharpness, caused by a high content of capsaicin. This substance, which is found in chili peppers, is suspected of causing damage to health, especially in children, the ministry explained.

It was striking that strongly fluctuating capsaicin levels had been detected in the samples. A final assessment of the product can only be made once the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has revised its toxicological assessment of the substance.

"This is also necessary in view of the fact that the competent authority in the Czech Republic has already assessed the labelling of the product as appropriate." In their view, consumers are warned by the information on the label.

The samples examined by the Hessian State Laboratory (LHL) were not marked with a warning in German, which advises against consumption by children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women, the spokeswoman explained. The LHL is currently examining whether the products may be withdrawn from the market. The ministry's "consumer window" is already warning of the chips challenge: "It's often not far from TikTok to the ambulance," it says. " The whole thing, therefore, is nothing but dangerous nonsense."

According to the police, an eleven-year-old boy from the Lahn-Dill district had to be treated in hospital in mid-October after the test of courage with the sharp chip. In a statement at the beginning of September, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warned that extremely spicy foods could be particularly harmful to the health of children.

The manufacturer, Hot Chip, said that the safety and health of consumers was a top priority. The product "Hot Chip Challenge" is manufactured in accordance with EU regulations, tested and certified for human consumption, a spokesperson said. The offer is aimed at adults. The packages are provided with detailed warnings, but according to the spokesman, these are to be improved.