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Hot, Hot, Hot: Spicy Burger Sends Two British Men to Hospital

How hot? Too hot. A new "Hot Chilli Burger" from a restaurant in Hove, England, sent two British journalists to the hospital after just one bite.
Image: A hamburger sits on a prep counter in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 25
A hamburger sits on a prep counter in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 25.SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images

How hot? Too hot.

A burger so spicy it requires diners sign a legal disclaimer before eating has sent two men to the hospital after they'd taken just a single bite each while testing the new product. The men, both journalists at England's The Argus newspaper, ordered the Hot Chilli Burger for lunch from Burger Off in Hove, England after seeing it advertised among the top hamburger restaurants in the country. One bite sent both Arron Hendy and Ruari Barratt to the hospital in ambulances. "Barratt took a bite and minutes later suffered severe stomach pains which increased. He lost the feeling in his hands, his legs were shaking and his eyes rolled back in his head," The Argus reported. “I was in so much pain I was telling people I felt like I was dying," Hendy, whose symptoms hit two hours later, told the paper.

Burger Off owner Nick Gamardella estimated the sauce used on the burger to be between 7 and 9 million on the Scoville scale used to compare spiciness of different chili peppers (in other words, really hot). For comparison, pepper spray used by police clocks in at 500,000 to 5 million Scoville heat units, while Tabasco sauce is between 2,500 to 5,000 and Sriracha is 1,000 to 2,500. Both journalists have recovered but advise others to learn from their mistake. "If you’re thinking of trying this burger for a dare, just don’t," Hendy said.


-Jillian Sederholm