Germans warned against extra spicy eating challenges
A government agency has warned Germans against participating in online challenges to eat extremely spicy food.
On Friday, Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) warned spicy foods could be particularly harmful to children.
Viral challenges to eating powerfully spicy food could lead to serious adverse health effects, the agency said.
“In the past, cases have repeatedly been reported in which adverse effects such as mucous membrane irritation, nausea, vomiting and high blood pressure were observed,” it said.
The BfR warned against contests or dares to eat very spicy foods or large quantities of extremely hot pepper sauce and pepper extract.
“In this case, severe adverse health effects are possible, which may be life-threatening,” it said.
Particularly concerning to the agency is a “hot chip challenge'' circulating on social media that involved eating corn tortilla chips heavily flavoured with Carolina Reapers.
This is according to the report by the hottest type of pepper in the world.
Numerous videos of people participating in the challenge are posted online, including children and teenagers.
In August, several fifth-grade schoolchildren in western Germany required medical treatment for stomach pain and skin and respiratory irritations after eating the extra-spicy chips.
The institute said the hot burning taste in spicy foods came from a chemical compound in peppers called capsaicin, which deters animals from eating the fruits.
An average adult can consume no more than five milligrams of capsaicin per kilogrammes of body weight without problems.
The BfR has recommended that warning labels be placed on food products that contain more than 100 milligrammes of capsaicin per kilogramme and that the packaging is child-resistant.