'Do not touch without gloves!': UK's hottest commercially grown chilli pepper hits UK high streets… and it comes with a health warning
Bedfordshire Super Naga available exclusively at TescoLabelled 'The Hottest' and 'Super Super Hot' with a SIX CHILLI rating'Not for the faint-hearted', says Tesco chilli buyer
18:03 GMT, 2 October 2012
It may be the most dangerous thing that has ever come out of Bedfordshire.
A beast so powerful that just a tiny nibble off the end will make your eyes water.
Introducing the Bedfordshire Super Naga, the UK's hottest commercially grown chilli pepper, now to be found on supermarket shelves around the country…complete with a warning not to handle with bare hands.
Have a bite: Bedfordshire farmer Salvatore Genovese with his powerful Bedfordshire Super Naga, now available at Tesco.
Salvatore Genovese, a Bedfordshire farmer who produces an astonishing 500,000 mouth-scorching chilli peppers every week, has unleashed the hell-raising Super Naga, his most powerful variety of chilli yet, and it will be sold exclusively by Tesco.
A chilli pepper's heat is measured
in Scoville Units, and last year the 40-year-old farmer produced his notorious Bhut Jolokia, a pepper of just over one million Scovilles that the Guinness Book of Records has described as
400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.
Genovese's brand new wrinkly little red devil, the Super Naga, climbs the ladder of heat to an almighty 1.12 million Scovilles.
The Naga's Tesco packaging is emblazoned
with a six chilli icon warning and labels reading 'Super Super Hot',
'The Hottest' and, in full block capital letters: 'Warning! Do not touch
without gloves. Skin irritant. Avoid contact with eyes. Wash hands
thoroughly after preparation to avoid irritation.'
Go on, give it a nibble: Mr Genovese's Super Naga measures 1.12 million Scoville units on the official chilli heat Richter scale.
Inside the packet the guidelines read: 'Use with caution. Ideally used in Bangladeshi dishes, its scorching heat combined with a distinctive fruity aroma makes it the chilli of choice for cooks wanting a new experience.'
Ouch: The new Bedfordshire Super Naga comes with a warning not to handle with bare hands.
Tesco chilli buyer Gethyn Formby said: 'Chilli fans will love the Bedfordshire Super Naga as it has a wonderful
fruity flavour to match its searing heat level.
'The heat builds slowly allowing you to savour the full flavour. It's very deceptive because it takes a good 30 seconds for the heat to really start working and then it continues to build for a few minutes.
'It's definitely not for the faint-hearted and should be tasted with extreme caution.'
Farming has been in Mr Genovese's family since 1972 when his father began growing cucumbers.
But 15 years ago the younger Genovese decided to tap in to the UK's new-found hunger for hot chillies, those
little firecrackers which were becoming increasingly popular
and which are now sold at the rate of 45 million per year.
He said: 'Until then, generally all the chillies sold in the UK were imported, mainly from Kenya or the Caribbean.
'There was probably a reluctance from UK growers to risk branching out into what was an extremely niche market, but demand has really grown in the last five years and I now produce up to half a million hot chilli peppers a week during the five month season.
'In the last two years we've doubled production of our hottest chilli peppers and I've calculated that one of my chilli peppers reaches one in 200 people in the UK each week.'
Scorching: The hottest chilli peppers – such as bird's eye, scotch bonnet, Bhut Jolokia and habanero – are now sold in the UK at a rate of 45 million per year.
While chilli pepper culture is rapidly becoming more popular throughout the UK, it's the fiercest ones such as Bhut Jolokia, scotch bonnet, habanero and bird's eye that are growing the fastest.
Mr Formby added: 'Chilli pepper culture in the UK has really come on in the last few years and chilliese are no longer thought of as a culinary novelty.'
The Bedfordshire Super Naga costs 90p for a 15g packet.