World’s hottest chilli pepper gives man ‘thunderclap’ headaches

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Updated 10 April 2018
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World’s hottest chilli pepper gives man ‘thunderclap’ headaches

PARIS: Doctors issued a chilli warning Tuesday after an American man who ate the world’s hottest pepper was struck by excruciating “thunderclap” headaches.
The 34-year-old man’s symptoms began with dry heaves “immediately after participation in a hot pepper contest where he ate one Carolina Reaper,” in 2016, said an article published in medical journal BMJ Case Reports.
The man then developed intense neck and head pain, and for several days experienced brief but intense “thunderclap” headaches. Each lasted several seconds.
After seeking emergency care, tests for various neurological conditions came back negative.
In the end, doctors diagnosed him with a temporary brain condition called “reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome” (RCVS), characterised by the temporary narrowing of blood vessels to the brain.
It was the first reported case of a patient being diagnosed with RCVS after eating a chilli pepper, the authors said.
Often accompanied by “thunderclap” headaches, the condition usually occurs as a reaction to certain prescription medications, or after taking illegal drugs.
“It was a big surprise to everyone,” said doctor Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, one of the authors of the article that warns of the dangers of playing with chilli fire.

The man’s symptoms cleared up by themselves and a follow-up CT scan five weeks after the event showed that his arteries had returned to their normal width.
Eating cayenne pepper has previously been linked to heart attacks, the study authors said.
“We would recommend the general public be cautious when eating chilli peppers and to seek medical attention straight away if you develop symptoms like this,” Gunasekaran warned.
For those who dare, the Carolina Reaper has a fruity, sweet taste with a hint of cinnamon and chocolate undertones, as well as being extremely hot, according to the website of Guinness World Records.
Last year it named the Carolina Reaper — a cross between Sweet Habanero and Naga Viper chillies — as the hottest pepper on Earth. It is grown by a producer in South Carolina.
It rates at an average of 1,641,183 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in South Carolina in 2017.
A Jalapeno can score anything between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU on the scale, Guinness World Records said.
In November 2016, a new record of 120 grams (just over four ounces) of Carolina Reaper were eaten in one minute at a competition in Arizona.


Australia offers reward amid mystery strawberry needle scare

wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production. (Supplied)
Updated 17 September 2018
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Australia offers reward amid mystery strawberry needle scare

  • Several brands grown in Queensland have been withdrawn from supermarkets, and there have been multiple reports of other cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria

SYDNEY: An Australian state has offered a large reward for information after sewing needles were found in strawberries sold in supermarkets, in what the federal health minister described as a “vicious crime.”
The issue came to light last week when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating the fresh produce bought at a supermarket in Queensland state.
Since then, people have posted on social media photos of other strawberries with small metal pins stuck into them.
Several brands grown in Queensland have been withdrawn from supermarkets, and there have been multiple reports of other cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
“Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia — they are putting an entire industry at risk,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Saturday.
Her government is offering a Aus$100,000 ($71,500) reward for any information that leads to the capture and conviction of those responsible.
“I would urge anyone with information that may be relevant to this incident in any way to contact police as soon as possible,” she added.
Queensland Police told national broadcaster ABC the contamination of the strawberries — usually sold in small plastic boxes called punnets — was done “obviously to injure somebody.”
They have yet to reveal possible motives but the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said a disgruntled former worker might be responsible.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Sunday he had ordered the national food safety watchdog to assess the handling of the cases, calling the sabotage a “very vicious crime.”
The Queensland strawberry industry is valued at about Aus$160 million ($114 million). The ABC said Saturday wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production.
Consumers have been urged to cut up their strawberries before eating.