There's a new spiciest chili pepper in the world: Pepper X, a small but fearsome plant that is hotter than most law-enforcement-grade pepper spray.
Guinness World Records unveiled the new record this past week, announcing that the Pepper X measures an average of 2.63 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). A typical jalapeño, for comparison, averages just 3,000 to 8,000 SHUs, according to Guinness. The prior record holder for the hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, averages around 1.64 million SHUs, making the Pepper X nearly twice as hot. However, the Scoville scale is "logarithmic, so it's more like three times hotter than a Reaper," said Ed Currie, the creator of both the Pepper X and Carolina Reaper.
The majority of police-used pepper sprays "have a pungency of 500,000 to 2 million SHUs," according to the Police Policy Studies Council, making the Pepper X significantly hotter. However, the council noted that some pepper sprays can get up to 5.3 million SHUs.
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Currie introduced the Pepper X on an episode of the YouTube show "Hot Ones," and said that when eating one, "there's an intense burn that happens immediately ... you get it in your arms, you get it in your chest." He told The Associated Press that after he ate the pepper on "Hot Ones," he was "feeling the heat for three-and-a-half hours. Then the cramps came," adding that he "laid out flat on a marble wall for approximately an hour in the rain."
The Pepper X was not designed to be eaten on its own, but Currie noted that it is extremely intense even when used for cooking. The spice is also difficult to come by, as "while you can snag a variety of hot sauces containing the hottest pepper" on Currie's website, Fast Company reported, "they don’t sell the peppers or the seeds to grow your own."
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