Around here, we love spicy foods so much, we keep a whole refrigerator door shelf stacked with everything from tabasco sauce to Sriracha. And it goes on everything. But spicy foods are not for everyone and some kinds of peppers are actually dangerous.
One middle school in Indiana is learning this the hard way after dozens of students ate raw peppers considered to be among the hottest in the world. You are not going to believe this story.
A student at New Castle Middle School in Indiana brought his classmates some peppers his father had grown. But these were no ordinary peppers, the were a variety called Carolina Reaper peppers, considered to be among the hottest peppers in the world.
How spicy are these peppers? Well, they measure in at around one and a half million units of the Scoville scale, a test designed to measure the heat of a pepper. Jalapeño peppers, by comparison rate at about thirty five hundred to ten thousand Scoville units.
According to New Castle Middle School principal Jaci Hadsell says “We had a student whose father grows these Carolina Reaper peppers, and he brought several of them to school and passed it around during lunch.”
School officials became aware of the incident when one student who had rubbed his eyes after handling the peppers and began “flailing around” in pain. Eventually, more than two dozen children started complaining of burning sensations, stomachaches and headaches after handling or ingesting the notorious peppers.
“We provided them milk to try and coat their stomachs, and then we made the decision to call our local EMTs,” Hadsell explained. While helping students recover from the burning sensations, they “watched very carefully about the possibility of anaphylactic shock.”
“Fortunately, no one had to be transported to the county hospital, and once everyone was OK, they were released to their parents,” Hadsell said.
As for the student who brought the peppers in, Hadsell says that the child has been appropriately disciplined.
According to Wikipedia, the Carolina Reaper pepper was first bred in a Rock Hill, South Carolina greenhouse by “Smokin” Ed Currie, proprietor of the PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill. The Carolina Reaper was certified as the world’s hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records as of August 7, 2013. The original crossbreed was between a Ghost pepper (a former world record holder) and a red habanero and is named ‘Reaper’ due to the shape of its tail. The official Guinness World Record heat level is 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in South Carolina. The figure is an average for the tested batch; the hottest individual pepper was measured at 2.2 million SHU.
At the second Annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo on March 30, 2014, Guinness World Records presented Ed Currie with his world record. There, an eating competition occurred and Russell Todd won the contest, consuming three Carolina Reapers in 12.23 seconds, a new Guinness record. This record was beaten in September 2014 by Jason McNabb, who finished three peppers in 10.95 seconds.
While peppers this hot sound like fun to us, make sure your kids know about the very real hazards of eating and handling hot peppers to avoid sickness.
Do you like spicy foods? What is the hottest variety of pepper you have ever tried? Share your story with us here.