Cockroach Eating Contest Causes Mysterious Fatality

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Photo: Matt Lemmon via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

There are plenty of adventurous foodies out there, putting “exotic” and sometimes live things in their mouths, usually because of a dare. And who wouldn’t want to back down from a dare? Besides, for the most part, these daring foods are safe — it’s only “exotic” to most people in the Western world — although eating live octopus poses a small threat. (The suction of the legs are still active, causing a possible choke hazard.)

Eating live cockroaches may sound disgusting to some, but to some cultures out there, it’s perfectly fine, which is probably what went through the mind of Edward Archbold of West Palm Beach, Florida last week, when he entered and won a roach-eating contest held by a local reptile store. Unfortunately — and mysteriously — he collapsed and eventually died almost immediately after the contest, after he downed dozens of live roaches, bugs, and worms — even though they came from an inventory of insects “that are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles,” according to the Associated Press.

“Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don’t think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat,” said Michael Adams, UC-Riverside professor of entomology. It is very uncommon for someone to die after eating roaches — in fact, all the other contestants who ate the same inventory of bugs were fine.

“Some people do have allergies to roaches,” Adams continued, “but there are no toxins in roaches or related insects.”

So let this be a lesson learned: if you’re about to eat something because of a dare, make sure you’re not allergic to it — although that’s one of those things that you’d probably find out when it’s too late.

READ MORE: Bucket List Destinations for Daring Foodies

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