Specialized Section on Standardization of Dry and Dried Produce
Texts for adoption as UNECE recommendations
POST SESSION DOCUMENT AUGUST 2012
Whole Dried Chilli Peppers
I. Definition of produce
This Standard applies to whole dried chilli peppers 1 of varieties (cultivars) grown from Capsicum annuum L., intended for direct consumption or for food when intended to be mixed with other products for direct consumption without further processing. This standard does not apply to whole dried chilli peppers for industrial processing.
This standard covers the following commercial types of whole dried chilli peppers, including commercial types such as: ancho, de árbol, guajillo, mulato, pasilla and puya.2
The purpose of the standard is to define the quality requirements of whole dried chilli peppers at the export-control stage, after preparation and packaging.
However, if applied at stages following export, the holder/seller shall be responsible for observing the requirements of the standard. The holder/seller of products not in conformity with this standard may not display such products or offer them for sale, or deliver or market them in any other manner.
A. Minimum requirements 3
In all classes, subject to the special provisions for each class and the tolerances allowed, the whole dried chilli peppers must display the following characteristics:
intact; however, slight superficial damage is not considered as a defect;
sound; produce affected by rotting or deterioration such as to make it unfit for consumption is excluded;
clean, practically free of any visible foreign matter;
sufficiently developed and with attached peduncle;
shape and colour characteristic of chilli commercial types;
free from living pests whatever their stage of development;
free from damage caused by pests, including the presence of dead insects and/or mites, their debris or excreta;
free from blemishes, areas of discolouration or spread stains in pronounced contrast with the rest of the produce affecting in aggregate not more than 5 per cent of the surface of the produce;
Whole dried chilli peppers belonging to commercial types other than that indicated
V. Provisions concerning presentation
The contents of each package must be uniform and contain only whole dried chilli peppers of the same origin, quality, colour, size (if sized) and commercial type.
The visible part of the contents of the package must be representative of its entire contents.
Whole dried chilli peppers must be packed in such a way as to protect the produce properly.
The materials used inside the package must be clean and of a quality such as to avoid causing any external or internal damage to the produce. The use of materials, particularly of paper or stamps bearing trade specifications, is allowed, provided the printing or labelling has been done with non toxic ink or glue.
Packages must be free of all foreign matter in accordance with the table of tolerances in section “IV. Provisions concerning tolerances”.
VI. Provisions concerning marking
Each package7 must bear the following particulars in letters grouped on the same side, legibly and indelibly marked and visible from the outside:
Packer and/or Dispatcher:
Name and physical address (e.g. street/city/region/postal code and, if different from the country of origin, the country) or a code mark officially recognized by the national authority8.
B. Nature of produce
“Whole dried chilli peppers”
Name of the commercial type
Level of pungency indicated as “mild”, “medium”, “hot” or “extra hot”, as appropriate9
Method of drying (optional).
C. Origin of produce
Country of origin10 and, optionally, district where grown or national, regional or local place name.
D. Commercial specifications
size (if sized); expressed in accordance with section III
Method of drying (optional)
“Best before” followed by the date (optional).
E. Official control mark (optional)
Annex 1 – moved to brochure
Annex I (move to brochure)
Commonly used terminology for whole dried chillies
Fruits have a conical shape, with sizes that vary in longitude and width. The base of the insertion of the peduncle can be flat or with indented shoulders; the body is generally flattened; the apex is pointed or round, and presents from two to four loculi. Its production as dry pepper is achieved mostly by artificially dehydrating the fruits, although a large part of this type of chilli is commercialized fresh.
De árbol chilli
Small fruits, with a uniform intense or dark red coloration, with no discoloration, cylindrical, with a shape prominently long and pointed, characterized by their high pungency.
Also known as mirasol. Generally, it is long, with a sharp end; its body is cylindrical, smooth and with slight undulations. It has two to three locules; its position is hanging, even when there are some variants with erected fruits. This type of chilli is moderately pungent and its commercial production is in its majority dried in the plant in a natural way.
With a shape similar to the ancho chilli, it has the same variation in the growth habit and shape of the fruit, but generally less pungent. The basic difference with ancho chilli is the colour, which is dark brown when ripe and blackish brown once it is dehydrated.
Fruit with a long undulated body that ends in a flat or pointed apex; it presents from two to three loculi. Its production is mainly destined for dehydrating, with a small amount consumed fresh.
Elongated fruit, medium size, smaller than mirasol chillies and bigger than de árbol chillies, with a uniform intense red or dark red colour, with no discoloration. Its production is dehydrated mainly in a natural way in the plant before use in salsas. After the de árbol chilli, it is considered highly pungent.
Dried chilli (dehydrated)
Fruit that has undergone a process of water loss by natural or artificial means.
Compounds responsible for the pungent or hot flavour in the chillies. The main and most pungent of all capsaicinoids is the Capsaicin, which is found in the seeds and placenta of the peppers.
Small chamber or cavity of the fruit that is formed by the arranging of the walls of the ovary; it is observed by making a transversal cut.
All material or substance different to that which constitutes the fruit and the peduncle. This includes: stalks, dirt, sand, stones, waste, wires, cords, foreign seeds, dust and leaves, as well as insect debris.
Sharp or intense sensation caused by the effect of the capsaicins after the ingestion of chilli or its sub-products.
Pungency of certain commercial types of whole dried chilli peppers
The following commercial types of whole dried chilli peppers are characterized by pungency in accordance with the following table.
Total capsaicinoids (µg/g dry weight)
Pungency Intensity (Scoville units a)
67 - 100
1 000 – 1 500
67 - 100
1 000 – 1 500
67 - 100
1 000 – 1 500
201 - 335
3 000 – 5 000
335 – 2010
5 000 – 30 000
Medium -– Hot
Medium - Hot
335 - 2010
5 000 – 30 000
a The Scoville scale is a system to measure the pungency in chillies. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) can also be used to measure content of capsaicin in chillies.
Methods to determine pungency
Pungency is reported in the Scoville scale and analyzed by the method of high performance resolution liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods.
ISO 972: 1997: Chillies and capsicums, whole or ground (powdered) - Specifications.
ISO 930: 1997: Spices and condiments - Determination of acid-insoluble ash
ISO 3513:1995 Chillies - Determination of Scoville index Edition: 2
ISO 7543-1 Chillies and chilli oleoresins - Determination of total capsaicinoid content - Part 1: Spectrometric method
ISO 7543-2 Chillies and chilli oleoresins - Determination of total capsaicinoid content - Part 2: Method using high-performance liquid chromatography
Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias. Centro de Investigación Regional del Noreste. Campo Experimental Palma de la Cruz. Nuevas Variedades del Chile Mirasol para el Centro Norte de México. Folleto Técnico Nro. 21, Marzo 2001.
Pozo Campodónico, Octavio. Descripción de Tipos y Cultivares de Chile (Capsicum spp.) en México. Secretaría de Agricultura y Recursos Hidráulicos/Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (SARH/INIA). Folleto Técnico Nro. 77, Octubre 1981.
1 Whole dried chilli peppers presenting a minimum pungency of 900 Scoville index; for levels of pungency, see Annex.
2 This list of commercial types is non-exhaustive.
3 Definitions of terms and defects are listed in annex III of the Standard Layout – Recommended terms and definition of defects for standards of dry (Inshell Nuts and Nut Kernels) and dried produce
4 [For examples of colour and visual quality, see Draft Explanatory Brochure for Whole Dried Chilli Peppers]
5 The moisture content is determined by the method given in annex I of the Standard Layout – Determination of the moisture content for dried produce . The laboratory reference method shall be used in cases of dispute.
6 For methods of verification, see Annex II: Methods to determine pungency.
7 These marking provisions do not apply to sales packages presented in packages.
8 The national legislation of a number of countries requires the explicit declaration of the name and address. However, in cases where a code mark is used, the reference “packer and/or dispatcher” (or equivalent abbreviations) must be indicated in close connection with the code mark, and the code mark should be preceded by the ISO 3166 alpha country code of the recognizing country, if not the country of origin.
9 In case of conflict, the packer and/or dispatcher/shipper shall supply information regarding the level of pungency
10 The full or commonly used name should be indicated.