Man dies after eating dozens of bugs and worms in a live cockroach-eating contest


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The Independent US

A man has died after winning a live cockroach-eating competition in Florida.

32-year-old Edward Archbold became ill after eating dozens of live cockroaches, worms and other bugs at Ben Siegel Reptile Store, near Miami. The grand prize in the competition was a python.

Mr Archbold won the competition, in which 30 other people took part, but was taken ill within minutes of it ending. He collapsed in front of the shop shortly after, and was rushed 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 the reptile store’s 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.”