Greg Foster is on a record-breaking hot streak.

The hot sauce maker from San Diego, California recently earned its third Guinness World Record within a year for its ability to ingest super hot peppers quickly.

For his last feat, on September 17, 2022, Foster ate 10 Carolina Reaper peppers in 33.15 seconds, the fastest time ever to consume that amount of peppers, according to Guinness World Recordsthat set the record on Monday.

Carolina Reaper peppers aren’t just hot at the jalapeño level; their heat averages about 1.6 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). In comparison, the jalapeño reaches 2,500 to 8,000 SHU. (Guinness also ranks the Carolina Reaper as the world’s hottest pepper.)

How does it feel to devour a batch of peppers? “Like opening your mouth and instead of taking a drink from a fire hose, you’re drinking a drink from a flamethrower,” Foster, 48, told USA TODAY. “I’d say it’s like eating a burning charcoal briquette. That’s what I’d imagine it would feel like.”

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The Joey Chestnut of hot peppers

Do you remember Joey Chestnut, the hot dog eating champion? Foster has similar experience with storing peppers.

Earlier, Foster in August set another Guinness World Record for the fastest time to eat three Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper) peppers in just 7.47 seconds. Before that, Foster set the fastest time ever to eat three Carolina Reaper peppers

(8.72 seconds) in December 2021.

He set his first world record in November 2016 by eat the most Carolina Reapers in a minute. “That was, I think, 18 or 19 peppers,” says Foster, who says he had five world records of eating pepper.

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Beware of trying it yourself: ‘Not something people want to experience’

Before you decide to pop Carolina Reaper pepper, consider the potential health risks. In 2020 the National Center for Biotechnology Information reported how a 15-year-old boy eating a Carolina Reaper developed a headache and suffered an acute cerebellar stroke two days later after being hospitalized for the headache. Two years earlier, a 34-year-old man went to the emergency room complaining of a severe headache just days after eating one. Brain scans revealed that narrowed arteries in his brain eventually returned to their normal state five weeks later, according to medical journal the BMJ.

The Carolina Reapers’ heat kicks in after about 30 seconds, about the time Foster had chewed and swallowed the last pepper in his final feat. He’s sweating by the time he’s done eating and “my mind is now more concerned about, ‘Okay, now the pain train is rolling on me. How am I going to mitigate that?”

Once an observer sees that Foster has eaten and ingested the peppers for a certain amount of time, Foster can vomit them up. “The pain in the mouth is one thing. The pain in the gut is quite another,” he said. “The level of discomfort that occurs in the gut is not something people want to experience. If I didn’t throw them up, I’d be in a fetal position for the next 36 hours with absolute pain cramps in my stomach.”

Some extreme eating contests require pepper eaters to hold them for a “burning period,” Foster said.

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A veteran of the restaurant industry, Foster worked his way from teenage dishwasher to sommelier and restaurant manager. When he and his brother Will developed a rivalry with eating peppers, Foster began growing peppers – a passion he developed into Inferno Farms, a hot sauce company he runs. His sauces can now be found in about 1,000 stores in the US, he said.

Do you have the right pepper-eating stuff?

Has Foster’s success made you want to increase your tolerance to hotter foods? He has one piece of advice: “Start slow and push yourself out of your comfort zone. And make sure you have plenty of milk or ice cream on hand.”

Dairy products can counteract capsaicin, the substance that sets your taste buds on fire.

Think you can inhale hot peppers at a world record pace? His tip: “Practice before you go to the game,” he said. “Don’t go to a game if you’ve never eaten a fresh (pepper) before. There are plenty of people participating in the Reaper eating contests who have never eaten a Reaper and have no idea what to expect. After eating two or three onstage, they are backstage…in complete physical and mental shock.”

Contributing: Claire Mulroy, USA TODAY

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.