Tuesday 24 October 2017

Man dies after winning cockroach-eating contest

Edward Archbold competing in a roach-eating contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Photo: AP
Edward Archbold competing in a roach-eating contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Photo: AP

THE winner of a cockroach-eating contest in Florida has died shortly after downing dozens of the live bugs as well as worms, authorities said.

About 30 contestants ate the insects during a contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, about 40 miles north of Miami. The grand prize was a python.



Edward Archbold, 32, became ill shortly after the contest ended and collapsed in front of the store, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office statement.



He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities are waiting for results of a port-mortem examination to determine a cause of death.



None of the other contestants became ill, the sheriff's office said.



"We feel terribly awful," said store owner Ben Siegel, who added that Mr Archbold did not appear to be sick before the contest.



"He looked like he just wanted to show off and was very nice," Mr Siegel said, adding that Archbold was "the life of the party".



Mr Siegel added that Archbold was selling the exotic prize to a friend who took him to the contest.



A statement from Mr Siegel's lawyer said all the participants signed waivers "accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest".



The bugs consumed were from an inventory of insects "that are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles".



Michael Adams, professor of entomology at the University of California at Riverside, said he had never heard of someone dying after eating cockroaches.



"Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don't think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat," he said.



"Some people do have allergies to roaches, but there are no toxins in roaches or related insects."



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