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Hottest chili makes eaters 'give up the ghost'

The Associated Press
Paul Bosland recalls taking a bite of a chili pepper and feeling like he was breathing fire.

He gulped down a soda, thinking, "That chili has got to be some kind of record."

The Guinness Book of World Records agreed, confirming recently that Bosland, a regents professor at New Mexico State University, had discovered the world's hottest chili pepper, Bhut Jolokia, a naturally occurring hybrid native to the Assam region of northeastern India.

The name translates as ghost chili, Bosland said.

"We're not sure why they call it that, but I think it's because the chili is so hot, you give up the ghost when you eat it," he said.

Bhut Jolokia comes in at 1,001,304 Scoville heat units, a measure of hotness for a chili. It's nearly twice as hot as Red Savina, the variety it has replaced as the hottest.

By comparison, a New Mexico green chili contains about 1,500 Scoville units; an average jalapeno measures at about 10,000.

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