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Pepper X scorches South Carolina pepper expert's Guinness Book heat record

Ed Currie, a South Carolina hot pepper expert, has broken his own world record with a pepper that's three times hotter. Pepper X was publicly named the hottest pepper in the world on Oct. 9 by the Guinness Book of World Records.

In Fort Mill, South Carolina, Ed Currie, a renowned hot pepper expert, has broken his own world record by creating a pepper that is three times hotter than his previous creation, the Carolina Reaper. Named Pepper X, it was officially declared the hottest pepper in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records on October 9. Currie claims that Pepper X provides "immediate, brutal heat" and when he first tried it, he experienced intense cramps that left him in pain for hours.

Pepper heat is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), with zero being bland and a regular jalapeno pepper registering at about 5,000 SHU. The Carolina Reaper, which held the previous record, measures at 1.64 million SHU. Pepper X has an average of 2.69 million SHU, making it significantly hotter. To put it into perspective, pepper spray used by police typically measures around 1.6 million SHU, while bear spray advertises at 2.2 million SHU.

Pepper X is the result of years of crossbreeding and experimentation. It is a greenish-yellow pepper with an earthy flavor. Currie crossed the Carolina Reaper with another extremely hot pepper that was sent to him from Michigan. The chemical in peppers that causes the burning sensation is called capsaicin, which is not dangerous unless consumed in large quantities. The burn triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine in humans, creating a natural high. Currie hopes that his peppers can be used by medical researchers to develop cures for diseases and help those suffering from chronic pain or discomfort.

Creating the hottest pepper in the world has been a two-decade obsession for Currie. It took 10 years to develop Pepper X, including five years of testing to prove that it was a distinct plant with different characteristics. Currie has learned valuable business lessons along the way, as he allowed others to grow the Carolina Reaper without protecting his intellectual property. As a result, over 10,000 products have used the Carolina Reaper name without permission. With Pepper X, Currie is taking precautions to protect his creation and ensure that his family and workers can benefit from his hard work.

Currie's PuckerButt company is dedicated to creating a range of hot pepper sauces, and he has fields across York County, secret greenhouses, and a store in Fort Mill where he develops sauce ideas. He also sells his peppers to companies worldwide. Currie believes that people can benefit from eating spicy peppers, but he warns against being overly ambitious and recommends building up a tolerance gradually. He hints that there may be even hotter peppers on the horizon, but remains tight-lipped about his future creations.

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