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FedEx Workers Hospitalized After Enormous Chili Pepper Extract Leak

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- More than 100 employees at the FedEx hub in Memphis were treated at the scene after a forklift punctured a barrel of concentrated chili pepper extract.

Memphis fire officials say the five-gallon container was damaged outside the building early Thursday morning and 117 employees were being evaluated and decontaminated.

Authorities identified the substance as liquid capsaicin, a chili pepper component that's also an active ingredient in pepper spray. Company spokesman Chris Stanley says this batch was destined for hot sauce.

A 53-year-old man and a woman in her 20s were hospitalized as a precaution. A FedEx safety team is investigating the incident, which caused the evacuation of dozens of employees.

The Memphis hub is the largest for FedEx globally, with about 11,000 people on both day and night shifts.

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