Because this site asks questions that cover a wide variety of scientific backgrounds I would like to discuss our process of answering questions and how likely the information we are providing is wrong, even when we provide references.
I may be completely wrong in my assumption here and I want to approach this as a discussion rather than an accusation, it's just something that made me stop and think.
Consider first this answer to my question about flying sneaky helicopters into someone else's country.
The reason this question received so many votes is because it is 100% accurate and comes from someone who knows what they are talking about because that is in their field of work.
Then, looking at an answer like this one which is correctly referenced, but is based on personal research.
According to our site the answer above is all good and well and the world keeps turning, but how accurate is the second example? Is it possible we are taking the word of one set of experiments and is it even highly likely that there is readily available another set of experiments already published that contradicts the example provided? Something that happens often with science.
I'm trying not to single out the example above, but I assume people will try and draw me on that. Take note that the linked research only goes through to an extract and not the complete paper and the extract refers to "the method of stiletto on capsaicin crystal". What does that mean? Is that the equivalent to adding some chilli powder to your food and claiming it will be well preserved? The issue is the linked paper may not match exactly the real world conditions that are being asked by the OP in the claim.
It should be noted that Serrano pepper extract is not the same as pure capsaicin. The Serrano pepper extract contains other substances that may overshadow any destructive effects of capsaicin. It is probable that the Serrano pepper extract contained some small sugars that may have provided some nutritional energy for the bacteria. (Nithin Kesireddy, Jennifer Stock, Melissa Wiesman (Dr. Jennifer Robbins) 2011)
"Does spicy food have antibacterial traits?" maybe the use of sugar or some other ingredients in the food would cause bacteria to thrive regardless of the amount of chilli. The issue is, if this is not your background how can we apply this study to regular food science. I guess a food scientist could tell us for sure, but I'm not sure we've got this right.
I'm concerned that we are actually fueling a debate rather than providing a definitive answer.
What do others think? Am I completely wrong and a single study can provide definitive proof?