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How Do You Test Peppers for Scoville Units?

by Sonoran Spice
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The dream for many hot pepper growers is to end up on the World’s Hottest Peppers List. But how will you ever know if you have a winner on your hands if you can’t get it tested for a Scoville heat rating? Here is a guide to help you get your own chili or hot sauce officially tested for SHU.

Find a Scoville Testing Lab

First, you need to find a lab that will conduct a high-performance liquid chromatography on your peppers. This test will decide the number of parts per million of heat-causing alkaloids that are in each of your individual peppers.

High performance chromatography lab where scoville testing takes place
High performance liquid chromatography lab

In order to do this, your peppers will have to be liquefied and the resulting liquid will then be divided into different parts. You can usually find a university with a lab that will run this test. Winthrop University and Southwest Bio Labs are just two examples of Scoville testing labs. Find a lab and schedule a Scoville heat testing time for your peppers.

Keep in mind that getting your peppers tested will cost you, but it’s probably not as much as you think. Each lab will differ, but it will probably cost you around $65. Ask the lab for a price before scheduling a Scoville heat testing time.

Transport Your Peppers

Next, you need to get your peppers to the Scoville testing lab. If you’re close by, you can probably drop them off. But if not, your best option is shipping fresh or powdered peppers. If you choose to powder your peppers, cut them and use a food dehydrator to make them brittle. Afterward, you can use a coffee grinder or a small blender that will turn your peppers into a fine powder. Package your powder and ship it to the lab.

Powdered and fresh paprika peppers
Example of fresh and powdered paprika

Follow Guinness World Records’ Guidelines

If you think you may have a record-holder on your hands, you’ll have some more work to do. Check out Guinness World Records’ website for the official guidelines on applying as well as collecting and submitting evidence that proves your pepper is a record holder. You will need a signed statement of authentication from an expert in horticulture. You’ll also need at least two witnesses who will have to give their own statements and submit them to Guinness.

Make sure you thoroughly read all the requirements and follow them to the letter. You might have only one chance to prove your pepper’s worth!

Waiting for Your Answer

Then you wait. You may have to wait months or it may take just a couple weeks. Guinness World Records should correspond with you to let you know if you were accepted or rejected. If they accept your evidence, you may have a winning pepper on your hands that goes down in hot pepper history!

Hopefully, now you feel ready to get your hot pepper or hot sauce professionally tested. You’ll never know if you don’t try! Since the process is fairly inexpensive, you really have nothing to lose!


  • Thought Co.: Scoville Scale Organoleptic Test
  • Wikipedia: Paprika

The Popularity of Scoville Testing Over Time

Popularity of Scoville Testing Over Time via Google

Keywords: Scoville testing lab, Scoville heat testing

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1 comment

Craig Dremann August 22, 2021 - 5:15 pm

CHECK the current GUINNESS World Record requirements (owned by Ripleys Believe it or Not) which are impossible to comply with, because there is no professional Scoville Testing lab that can do everything they are asking for:
LIST of all of the Guinness requirements below:

We need a detailed report that clearly hits the following:

a.) An introduction to the Lab. Where it is, its associations and who will be conducting the tests.
b.) The amount to be tested. What sample was sent to the lab.
c.) How much pepper weight and over how many years were the samples taken
d.) How were the samples treated.
e.) Extraction process.
f.) Analysis
g.) Apparatus
h.) Reagents
i.) Calibration of the HPLC process
j.) Results. Clearly illustrated graphs and tables that show the full results
k.) Scoville Heat Unit calculation. Breaking down the compounds present and their pungency values.
l.) Conclusion. An interpretation of the results that describes the final SHU value and its standard deviation across the range of samples provided.
m.) All that on letter headed paper (we can be sent a .pdf copy of it) from the lab itself along with the signatures from the person(s) who conducted the tests.
n.) In addition we will need other pieces of evidence such a cover letter,
o.) witness statements,
p.) photos, and
q.) videos as outlined in the guidelines.


Guidelines from Guinness website:

. Rules for Hottest chilli pepper

1. The chilli pepper classification/species must be verified by an independent qualified professional such as a horticulturalist.

2. For the purpose of this record 25g of dried peppers must be tested to give the average Scoville score. The method of drying must be provided with the claim.

3. The pungency units must be determined using an accredited laboratory to ISO 3513:1995.

4. It is recommended that you provide us with the details of the laboratory for testing to ISO
standards (accreditation), and to the specific mentioned standard. The laboratory must be
an independent testing laboratory from any existing interest.

5. Where it is not possible to locate a lab with an ISO 3513:1995 standard to test the Scoville
index a suitable national standards institute laboratory must be located and a High- performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method of testing should be used. A full methodology must be provided with the claim.

6. Details of the growth of the plant(s) must be provided.

7. At least two independent witnesses, including at least one chemist and one horticulturalist,
must submit statements regarding both the growth process and testing process.

8. Photographs and video evidence of the pepper and the testing process should be provided.

9. Although the record is measured by SHU units, the dimensions and weight of the chili
pepper must also be provided.

. 10.Any articles about the pepper published in scientific journals should also be submitted.
. 11. Any other specialised literature to support the claim maybe provided.

. Rules for ‘general’ records
Please make sure ALL these rules are followed:
1. The attempt must take place in a public place or in a venue open to public inspection. 2. The attempt must be overseen by two independent witnesses.

Please make sure you supply the following evidence:
Guinness World Records Hottest chilli pepper 13 August 2021
• One cover letter explaining the context of the record attempt. Please indicate the date, time and exact location of the record attempt, your chosen witnesses and your record attempt measurement. Also please provide full details of the person(s)/organisation attempting the record including details on the preparation for the attempt.

• Two witness statements confirming the exact details of the record and the results as well as explicitly confirming all of the rules have been adhered to. These witnesses must be specialists in the specific field of your record attempt if indicated in the specific rules above.

• Photographic evidence is compulsory evidence for all record attempts. Clear photographs of the item must be provided.

• Video evidence is compulsory evidence for this record attempt. Please ensure the entire attempt is filmed, that the camera is focused on the attempt at all times and is static.

• Media articles (newspaper, online, TV or radio) can be submitted as part of the evidence requirements. This is not compulsory evidence.
Please read the Guide to Your Evidence document, where you will find further information about the evidence requirements and evidence templates. It is paramount this document is read before you submit your evidence.

Evidence checklist
• Cover letter

• Proof of qualifications

• Witness statement 1

• Witness statement 2

• Description of the testing methodology

• Specialist witness statement 2

• Laboratory report

• Testing laboratory certification

• Video evidence

• Media articles

• Photographic Evidence


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