"PURE CAPSAICIN IS 16 MILLION SCOVILLE HEAT UNITS"
[See OC PUNGENCY CHART below]

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        The analysis for the heat bearing components of red peppers has been with us since the early 1900s.  The analytical methodology for heat determination has been one of constant evolution with a great deal of activity in the past ten years.  American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) Method 21.0, the old Scoville Heat Test used by industry for many years, had a large variability due to:

Lack of reference standard
Lack of statistical validity
Poor test reproducibility
Ethanol bite in sample
Increase taste threshold
Rapid taste fatigue
Build up of heat

Moreover, ASTA Test Method 21.1 was developed by a single laboratory and required the use of some chemicals that are no longer deemed safe by the Federal Government. Therefore, in December 1998, ASTA determined that methods 21.0 and 21.1, as methods to determine capsicum, were made obsolete.

ASTA Method 21.3, Pungency Of Capsicums And Their Oleoresins (HPLC Method) was adopted December 1998 and remains as the only official method recognized for the analysis of capsicum heat.  It is a collaborative method developed by the ASTA in conjunction with the American Organization of Analytical Chemists (AOAC).  The ASTA Executive Committee of the Technical Group has determined that methods 21.0 and 21.1 are no longer valid test, and that Method 21.3 is to be the only official method used for the analysis of capsicum heat.                                                                                            

Merle I. Eiss
Technical Director, ASTA


            Due to the prospect of causing permanent harm to skin and/or nerve endings, it is generally accepted by law enforcement and corrections training professionals that the use of ASRs with a Scoville Value exceeding 200,000 would be unsuitable for normal duty use. Use the chart below to find out where the pungency of your current brand rates with the pungency of alternate brands.

            Remember, the Scoville Value and percentage of major capsaicinoids are the true determinants of the pungency/effectiveness of an ASR, and not just the OC percentage or Scoville Heat Units.

 

 

OC Pungency Chart (pure capsaicin included for comparison purposes only).

Active Ingredient Canister Weight Concentration *Scoville Heat Units Scoville Value **Major Capsaicinoids
Pure Capsaicin 10% *16,000,000 1,600,000 10%
American Defense (Red) 10% 2,000,000 200,000 1.25%
BG-X (Reliapon) 10% 2,000,000 200,000 1.25%
BodyGuard (LE-10) 10% 2,000,000 200,000 1.25%
Premium Less-Lethal 10% 2,000,000 200,000 1.25%
Sabre Red 10% 2,000,000 200,000 1.25%
Cap Stun 5.5% 2,509.090 138,900 0.86%
Fox Labs 2% 5,300,000 106,000 0.66%
American Defense (White) 5% 2,000,000 100,000 0.62%
BG-V (Reliapon) 5% 2,000,000 100,000 0.62%
BodyGuard Plus (Reliapon) 5% 2,000,000 100,000 0.62%
Punch II & III 5% 2,000,000 100,000 0.62%
STROAM (Reliapon) 5% 2,000,000 100,000 0.62%
Federal Labs 5.5% 1,000,000 55,000 0.34%
Sabre 5.5 5.5% 1,000,000 55,000 0.34%
American Defense (Blue) 10% 500,000 50,000 0.31%
Sabre Defense 10% 500,000 50,000 0.31%
Def-Tec (First Defense) 10% 320,000 32,000 0.20%
Federal Labs (Pepper 10) 10% 320,000 32,000 0.20%

Note: Comparative data obtained from manufacturers marketing materials and believed to be true at the time of printing.
* In accourdance with ASTA 21.3, Pungency Of Capsicums And Their Oleoresins (HPLC Method).
** Tolerances are .02.

 

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