US-based Chile Pepper Institute's (CPI) latest claim that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is hotter than India's Bhut Jolokia is driven by profit motives, feel experts.
In 2007, the Bhut Jolokia was declared the world's hottest chilli by the Guinness Book of World Records. After that, an Ohio-based company, CaJohns Fiery Foods, had teamed up with the CPI to market products called Holy Jolokia Hot Sauce at $14 per bottle and Holy Jolokia Salsa and Barbecue Sauce at $15 per jar. Experts believe that the CPI now wants to reap similar profits from the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion by claiming it is hotter than the Bhut Jolokia.
The CPI recently declared that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion exuded 1.2 million Scoville heat units (SHU), the yardstick for measuring the 'hotness' of chillies. That would effectively put an end to the current reign of the Bhut Jolokia (1.01 million SHU) as the world's hottest.
"There is scope to suspect that the CPI is creating a goldmine for the next few years," Dr Ananta Saikia, professor, Assam Agricultural University, told HT. "It is difficult to believe the institute does not have business motives. It is conducting experiments in its labs, and no unbiased scientific representatives are present to certify the genuineness of the results."
The CPI is funded by industry groups that have a vital interest in the outcomes of its research, in addition to US government grants.