New Castle students eat world's hottest pepper; dozens become ill

Posted at 10:47 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 10:13:22-04

NEW CASTLE, Ind. -- More than two dozen New Castle students became ill Thursday after eating the hottest breed of pepper in the world.

District officials say a student brought a pepper known as a Carolina Reaper to New Castle Middle School on Thursday. After eating it, as many as 30 students began experiencing an intense burning sensation in their mouths, eyes and on their skin.

The principal called emergency responders to the school to treat the students.

The Carolina Reaper is a hybrid pepper made initially by crossbreeding a ghost pepper and a red habanero. It has rated up to 1.57 million Scoville Heat Units (the Scoville scale is used to determine how "hot" a pepper is). By comparison, a jalapeño pepper rates anywhere from 3,500-10,000 Scoville units.

None of the students were believed to have been seriously injured by eating the pepper.