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Some Like it Hotter!

Approximately a year ago, the Statistic-of-the-Week focused on how older Americans were increasing their consumption of chili peppers....

At that time, I provided some side trivia on the "heat" of chili peppers. Basically, the useful measure is SHU [Scoville heat units], which is the measure of the capsaicin (i.e. heat-producing chemical) in a pepper. Or, it is defined to be the number of times a chili extract must be diluted in water for it to lose its heat.

Using this measure, it is possible to rank peppers by their hotness: Bell peppers (0 SHU), green chilis (1,500 SHU), jalapeños (3,000–6,000 SHU), habaneros chilis (300,000 SHU), and the Guinness World Record-holding Bhut Jolokia (1,001,304 SHU).

BUT...a new record-setting HOT pepper has been created by Michael and Joy Michaud, owners of a mail-order seed company. Their new pepper is the Dorset naga, registering in at 1.6 million SHU!

The Michauds supplied this pepper to Tesco, a supermarket chain, which sold out its 400 packs almost instantly. Also, it is the only food product that Tesco will not sell to children.

In a Hippy Seed Company video, an Aussie named Neil tests a whole Dorset naga straight. Neil later added that he lost his sense of taste for 36 hours.

Yet, the Bangladeshis consume these same peppers whole, "breaking pieces off as they eat and mixing the pieces with their food...(and) rub their plates with the peppers before their food is served."

Question: How many jalapeños would Neil have to eat to experience the same level of hotness?

Source: Bellingham Herald, August 25, 2010