The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion has been named the hottest pepper on the planet by New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute, according to the Associated Press.
The cherry-tomato-sized pepper has a mean heat of over 1.2 million units on the Scoville scale, the standard measure of the potency of hot peppers.
The institute’s research was undertaken after some prodding on the part of hot-sauce makers and pepper enthusiasts to determine definitively the hottest pepper in existence. The issue had been under debate for a while. The Bhut Jolokia “Ghost” pepper, the Infinity chili, and the Trinidad “Butch T” Scorpion pepper have all, at one time, been named the hottest pepper by Guinness World Records.
You can check out a YouTube video of a hot pepper taste-tester who calls himself Ted the Fire-Breathing Idiot trying both the “Butch T” Scorpion and the Moruga Scorpion, but it’s not a pretty sight. Jim Duffy, a San Diego grower of Moruga Scorpions, described people’s standard reactions to ingesting the peppers: “People actually get a crack-like rush,” he said to the AP. “I know people who will eat the hottest stuff to get this rush, but they’ve got to go through the pain.”