Students Take Hot Sauce Challenge

Spencer Hill

Marcos Diaz-Robles, Reporter

Spicy food ratings are determined by the Scoville Organoleptic test. This consists of taking the capsaicin oil (spicy part) out from the pepper and slowly diluting it with sugar and water until a group of five testers can no longer taste the spiciness.

To have an idea, the spiciest food in the world is the Trinidad Scorpion, grown in many parts of the world. It has around 1.4 million Scoville units. A more common pepper, like the jalapeno has a value of 2,500 to 8,000 SCU.

The peppers that the three students had to try are not even close to the top of the ranking. The habanero is classified around 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville units, more than a million away from the Trinidad Scorpion. Taking a look at tabasco, it has an even lower value than the habanero. Its value is between 30,000 and 50,000 SCU.

The participants had trouble resisting the heat of the habanero sauce. Meagan Sullenger, one of the three participants felt convinced of her resistance before the experiment, but afterwards, she regretted trying it.

“I feel disgusting and on fire,” Sullenger said.

Genetics and trying lots of spicy food during childhood are main factors in controlling spiciness. Our participants probably need more practice before they can even think about trying the Trinidad Scorpion.