The inventor of the Carolina Reaper—the world's hottest pepper—describes it as "kind of like eating molten lava." "That's the best way to put it," he tells PRI. So you can only imagine what happened when a batch of Reapers made their way into a middle-school lunchroom. ABC News reports more than two dozen students at New Castle Middle School in Indiana were "sickened" after a student whose father grows the spicy peppers passed a few around at lunch. Teachers noticed something was wrong when one student touched his eyes after touching a Carolina Reaper and started "flailing around." Reports of burning mouths and faces spread from there.
The Carolina Reaper is made by crossbreeding ghost peppers and red habaneros, WRTV reports. They can reach 1.57 million units on the Scoville scale, while even the hottest of jalapenos maxes out at about 10,000 units. New Castle principal Jaci Hadsell tells ABC they gave the suffering students "milk to try and coat their stomachs" then called the EMTs. After making sure none of the students went into anaphylactic shock, the school released them to their parents. None were believed to have been seriously injured. Hadsell says the pepper-providing student was "appropriately disciplined." (Gaining the "world's hottest" title was a four-year quest.)