McIlhenny Company and Ingredients Division
Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve done our best to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about heat levels, our brand, applications & services, and product properties. Not finding the answers you are looking for? Please contact us.

  • Heat Levels

    • What are Scoville Heat Units?

      Scoville Heat Units or SHU are the standard units that represent pungency.

    • What is pungency?

      Pungency in this instance is the measurement of capsicum, the heat source within tabasco peppers. To give you a range of Scoville units as they are found in nature, the standard green jalapeño pepper falls in the base range of 4,000 Scoville units and the standard habanero pepper is in the base range of 250,000 Scoville units.

    • How do you measure pungency?

      Pungency is measured by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The HPLC separates the major capsaicinoids from a sample and measures them by moving through a fluorescence detector. The fluorescence detector measures the amount of energy absorbed and then emitted by the compounds. Higher fluorescence equals higher pungency. The resulting chromatograph contains multiple peaks corresponding to the several capsaicinoid compounds present in the sample. The results, which are correlated mathematically to Scoville Heat Units (SHU), are totaled for the final measure of heat units.

    • How hot is TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce?

      TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is 2,500-5,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

    • Is TABASCO® brand Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce hotter than TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce since it is made from jalapeño peppers?

      No, TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is more pungent than TABASCO® brand Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce. TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is 2,500-5,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). TABASCO® brand Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce is considered milder and its pungency ranges from 600-1,200 SHU.

    • How much TABASCO® brand product should I use to get the right heat level in my product?

      There is no base percentage that will cover all products. Items that are high in fat will decrease the heat level. Heat levels will remain constant or even increase in items low in fat. Also, if you are developing a sauce or a product that is meant for use in an item such as a sandwich or will be topped or dipped, you need to taste your product in a “Finished Service” manner. The reason for this: what may taste hot by itself will diminish in heat and flavor when added to other components.

  • The TABASCO® brand

    • If I use TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients in my product, can I put the TABASCO® logo on my package or menu?

      If you use a TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredient in a product, you can declare it in your ingredient deck; however, that mention must adhere to our trademark guidelines. The TABASCO® brand may NOT be used on a product label unless a co-brand license agreement has been reached between the manufacturer and McIlhenny Company. For usage in a menu item, a signed agreement must be obtained from McIlhenny Company to use any of the TABASCO® brand trademarks.

  • Applications/Services

    • What TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredient would you recommend for a marinade?

      If you are looking for a marinade with no particulate we recommend TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce. If you want visual particulate we would recommend our TABASCO® brand Processor’s Blend or TABASCO® brand Pepper Paste.

    • Our foodservice client would like some ideas on new products using TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients. Can you help us with this?

      Yes, we can. Our corporate chef and manager of ingredient sales can contact you to discuss your customer’s specific needs and desires. Please contact a broker to get in touch.

    • If requested, will I be able to obtain a Certificate of Analysis?

      Yes. We will be able to provide you with a certificate for each individual lot of product.

    • Do you have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) program and what are your Critical Control Points?

      McIlhenny Company has an integrated Quality Management System (QMS) that incorporates all of the quality related activities into one comprehensive system. We adhere to the FDA regulations for a food manufacturing facility as described in the CFR 21 part 110, Current Good Manufacturing Practices. This portion of the program encompasses all of the basic requirements for a food production facility. We contract our Pest Control to an outside company that specializes in servicing the food industry. Our HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) plan follows the product from the fields all the way into the distribution chain. Because of this system we are able to have the capabilities to trace back to a specific grower and region if necessary. Our QMS also covers such topics as allergen control, training, and standard operating procedures. A Pathogen Monitoring program was established to further satisfy the needs of many of our customers as well.

  • Product Properties

    • In TABASCO® Dry Red Flavoring, there is not as much of the vinegar taste as in TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce. Why is that?

      The amount of vinegar in TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is reduced during the drying process that produces TABASCO® brand dry and semi-dry ingredients. Adding some dry vinegar can replace some of that flavor.

    • Are all TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients Kosher Certified?

      Yes, all TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients comply with the requirements of Jewish Dietary Laws and are Kosher-Pareve. We can provide Kosher certificates on all the industrial ingredients we offer.

    • Can you add water to TABASCO® Dry Red Flavoring to make TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce?

      No. Due to the processing method of TABASCO® Dry Red Flavoring, we use a natural base of dried tabasco peppers ground to a powder versus spray drying on a neutral base. The result is a product that is approximately 20 times hotter than TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce. It will not dissolve in water.

  • Technical

    • Will I get heat flash off in the blanching process with TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients?

      Yes, you will. As with any capsicum-based product, there will be some heat that will flash off into the oil when blanching or fully cooking. We suggest that you use the industrial ingredient products in the tumble, dip or breading process. This will help encapsulate the heat and prevent as much flash off as possible.

    • Will TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients become airborne when heated?

      It depends on the method in which you are heating. In a dusting process the particular ingredient will become more airborne without the correct line ventilation. Also, if you are adding it to a hot liquid in a kettle, you also may have some vapors if there is not adequate ventilation.

    • What are the recommended storage conditions for TABASCO® brand Industrial Ingredients?

      Our liquid formulations should be stored in a cool, dry place. Our intermediate moisture formulations should be stored under refrigerated conditions in a tightly sealed container. Our dry formulations (except TABASCO® brand Spray Dry Flavoring, which is a non-perishable food ingredient) can be stored at ambient conditions (below 85°F and 60% humidity) in a tightly sealed container. For more detailed information on storage conditions and shelf life for each product, please refer to the Product Guide.