A maker of the Carolina reaper hot pepper is defending distributing the pepper after a man became hospitalized from eating the pepper, the UK's Sky News reported.
The Carolina reaper was named the world's hottest pepper last year by the Guinness Book of World Records. The pepper is rated at 2.2 million Scoville heat units. By comparison, a jalapeno is rated up to 8,000 Scoville heat units. A habanero is rated up to 300,000 Scoville heat units.
An article in last week's British Medical Journal claimed that a 34-year-old man was hospitalized for eating the pepper during a hot pepper eating contest. The man experienced "thunderclap" headaches, The report also claimed the man's arteries had constricted after consuming the pepper.
But Salvatore Genovese, a grower and distributor of the Carolina reaper, said the pepper should be eaten "correctly," according to the Sky News.
"It's not really designed to... just plonk it in your mouth and eat it," Genovese said. "I would never do that and I wouldn't recommend it.
"Just cook with it, make a curry, infuse it slowly take it out if you want to afterwards, and get the rich flavors from that super-hot chili."
Genovese told Sky News he sold nearly 500,000 over the last few years without hearing any complaints.
The unidentified 34-year-old man showed normal health five weeks after eating the pepper.