Too Hot to Handle: Ghost Pepper Induces Coma
Do you like spicy food? Even if you do enjoy a bit of spice, there is a difference between some jalapenos or even a habanero and the notorious ghost pepper. However, many restaurants know that people not only love some spice, they also love a challenge. So, they hold competitions that require people to eat spicy food to win prizes. In fact, eating ghost peppers has become a very popular challenge not only in restaurants, but also on YouTube.
The Dangers of the Pepper
While some might feel that eating something spicy and having a reaction is funny, it also has the potential to be very dangerous. A man in San Mateo, CA is suing a restaurant after he ate their ghost pepper burger. He did not merely “have a reaction” to the burger. It affected him so severely that he had a tear in his esophagus, and he was even in a coma for two weeks.
The customer says in the lawsuit that he was not made aware of just how spicy the ghost pepper burger would be. However, he was told that he would be rewarded for finishing the burger. However, once he was eating the burger, he simply couldn’t handle it. He ran from the eatery while vomiting. This was a reaction of his body to the ghost pepper. It wanted to get the pepper, which is one of the hottest peppers in the world, out of his system as quickly as it could.
This is potentially what caused the tear in the man’s esophagus. Many of the restaurants that offer eating challenges, including The Swingin’ Door and their XXX Burger, will require the signing of a waiver first. However, that does not seem to have happened in this case. After all, the man said that no one warned him of just how spicy the burger would be, and he says that he hadn’t heard of ghost peppers before that day.
However, staff members of the restaurant, as well as others, say that as far back as 2005, customers would need to sign a waiver before they could eat this burger. The plaintiff in this case also says he was never offered any milk or ice cream. These can help to soothe the burning feeling, and they may have helped to reduce the injuries the plaintiff had.
Just how hot is this pepper? On the Scoville scale, it rates at 1,000,000 units. Compare that to a jalapeno pepper, which is about 5,000 units. The level of spice is unbelievable, and it really is not something most people would want to consume willingly. Could you imagine eating a burger and ending up in a coma?
The injuries were real and documented, and it will certainly be interesting to see how this case unfolds and to see how other restaurants respond. In recent weeks, there have been other deaths at restaurant contests around the United States due to choking. Perhaps the time of eating contests is waning.