Two journalists were hospitalized after eating a burger at Burger Off in Hove, England, where the burger is reported to have a sauce spicier than pepper spray.
Arron Hendy, the Argus’s assistant news editor, and Ruari Barratt, a reporter in training, were taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital after they each bit into the XXX Hot Chilli Burger at Burger Off, The Argus reported
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Hendy reportedly took just one bite of the burger and decided it was too spicy to eat any more. He was apparently fine after drinking a large amount of milk.
Barratt, on the other hand, began having severe stomach pains and lost feeling in his hands just minutes after taking the first bite of the burger. His legs also began shaking and his eyes rolled back in his head, the Argus reported.
“It was hard to walk,” Barratt later said. “I needed to drink milk to neutralize the burning, which was hard because I was hyperventilating so much my hands had seized up.”
Within a couple hours, Hendy then reportedly began suffering some of the same symptoms Barratt was experiencing.
He initially said he would try the burger after Burger Off was Trip Advisor rated it one of the top burger restaurants in the U.K.
“I was in so much pain I was telling people I felt like I was dying,” Hendy said later. “It’s embarrassing but it felt that bad. If you’re thinking of trying this burger for a dare, just don’t.”
Nick Gambardella, Burger Off’s owner, has drawn up a waiver, releasing the restaurant staff of liability, that must be signed by customers before they eat the XXX Hot Chilli Burger.
“We do try and take a certain level of responsibility. We don’t sell the burger to anyone under 18, and if someone’s been drinking we don’t let them have it,” Gambardella told The Argus. “I spend about as much time convincing people not to try one as I do selling them. I tell people it will ruin their weekend.”
The burger contains a sauce made in India reportedly using about 5,000 kilos of piri piri chilis concentrated into 1 kilo.
Gambardella estimates the sauce on the burger to measure between 7 million and 9 million on the Scoville scale, the measurement of heat in spicy food. Pepper spray rates between 500,000 and 5 million on the scale. Tobasco sauce is between 2,500 and 5,000.
In 2009, the Argus reported on the Burger Off’s spicy burger and how others had to be taken to the hospital after trying it.
Gambardella told the Argus then that he wouldn’t eat the burger himself and that paramedics had told him to stop selling it. He said then that about 700 customers had signed the waiver to eat the burger but very few managed to eat the whole thing.
“No one who has tasted it would ever try it again,” Gambardella said.
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