World's Hottest Pepper: Guinness Says Carolina Reaper Worse Than Police Spray

Patrick Frye

The world's hottest pepper, called the Carolina Reaper, has been named by Guinness world records, and it happens to be grown in the United States.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the previous world's hottest pepper was known as the Trinidad Morgua Scorpion. Similar in appearance, the Carolina Reapers also share the trademark "scorpion tail" at the end.

The heat of a chili is measured by Scoville heat units, named after the pharmacist Wilbur Scoville from 100 years ago. The old methods were fairly subjective since they depended on the taster's tongue, but now scientists can separate chemical compounds, called capsaicinoids, which are responsible for generating the heat, from the rest of the peppers. Using liquid chromatography, they are able to detect the exact amount and then convert it into Scoville units.

The Carolina Reaper topped more than 1,569,300 Scoville units with some individual peppers reaching more than 2 million Scoville units. In comparison, a jalapeno pepper is rated at about 5000 heat units and the previous Guinness world's hottest pepper topped out at around 1.2 million Scoville units. But an individual pepper of the Carolina Reaper measures 2.2 million, which is stronger than the 2 million worth of heat generated by police pepper spray.

The man behind the world's hottest pepper is named Ed Currie. He's been working for four years to get The Guinness Book of World Records to recognize his Carolina Reaper as the world's hottest peppers. He's hoping his company, called PuckerButt Pepper Company, will allow him to retire.

Cliff Calloway, the Winthrop University professor who tested Currie's peppers, says he's glad for the new scientific methods:

"I haven't tried Ed's peppers. I am afraid to. I bite into a jalapeno - that's too hot for me."

Just how strong is the Carolina Reaper? Let's just say the first couple people couldn't stomach it:

"The first time we tried it, out of the six of us…four puked. So I knew I was on the right path, you know."