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Mom says too many hot chips led to daughter’s surgery

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis mother has a warning after she says her daughter's gallbladder was removed and she believes it's because of spicy snacks.

"When my daughter had to have this surgery, I knew I had to tell everybody about it," Rene Craighead said.

Popular hot snacks — like Hot Cheetos, Takis and Hot Fries — are getting snatched off of shelves and can be found at virtually any convenience store.

Craighead said the doctor told her hot chips were behind the stomach problems her 17-year-old daughter was having.

"She loves them. Every time I go out she says, 'Bring me back some Hot Takis, bring me back some Hot Chips.' I want to make her happy, so I brought them back. She was eating big bags and would take them to school with her," Craighead said.

Her daughter, also named Rene, started feeling sick to her stomach. That soon led to surgery and the removal of her gallbladder.

"I was surprised that my daughter was sick like that," the mother said.

It's not just the taste that makes them appealing. The hot snacks cost about a dollar for a regular size bag. The Craigmont High student estimates she was eating about four bags of hot snacks a week.

Dr. Cary Canvender, a gastroenterologist at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, said there are numerous factors that go into having a gallbladder removed. But he believes eating the chips probably contributed.

"We do see tons of gastritis and ulcer-related stuff due to it," he said.

The doctor said the number of children they see with stomach problems due to the chips is staggering.

"We probably see around 100 kids a month, easily," he said.

Cavender advises that parents monitor their child's diet and load up on fruits and vegetables.

In a statement regarding Takis, Buchanan Public Relations said:

"We assure you that Takis are safe to eat, but should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. Takis ingredients fully comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, and all of the ingredients in each flavor are listed in detail on the label. Always check the serving size before snacking."

The company goes on to say that it takes complaints very seriously and are happy to connect with the customer.

Frito-Lay, the maker of Cheetos, also responded, saying:

“At Frito-Lay, food safety is always our number one priority, and our snacks meet all applicable food safety regulations as well as our rigorous quality standards. Some consumers may be more sensitive to spicy foods than others and may choose to avoid spicier snacks due to personal preference.”