'Like swallowing fish hooks': Man dies after cockroach-eating contest

A US man who collapsed during a cockroach-eating contest choked to death on bug parts and his own vomit, the a Florida medical examiner has ruled.

Edward Archbold, 32, a canvas worker, had stuffed handfuls of cockroaches and worms down his throat during an October 5 contest at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach.

Shortly after winning the prize, an expensive ivory ball python, Archbold began to retch violently and collapsed outside the store. He later died at Broward Health North Medical Centre. None of the other contestants became ill, Ben Siegel said.

On Monday, Medical Examiner Dr Craig Mallak determined Archbold "died as a result of asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents."

Mallak further cited "findings of airway obstruction by the arthropod body parts." Cockroaches are members of the arthropod family.

Mallak's report noted there were no "lethal intoxicating substances" in Archbold's system. He classified the death as an accident.

Siegel described Archbold, who won the python for a friend, as "a super nice guy."

"He was outgoing. He was the life of the party," the shop owner said.

All contestants signed waivers accepting responsibility, and weren't allowed to drink alcohol. Siegel said three aspiring bug eaters were eliminated for bringing beer to the contest.

The bugs were not wild, but rather raised in captivity under sterile conditions, Siegel said. "They're bred for exotic pet feed and they're completely safe," he said.

After Archbold's death, theories abounded on the Internet as to what killed him: He choked on his own vomit, suffered an allergic reaction, or inhaled the insects' hard, dry shells.

Experts on insect eating advise against consuming live roaches. They're fraught with bacteria and have spiny legs.

"It's like swallowing a fish hook," said Florence Vaccarello Dunkel, associate professor of entomology at Montana State University and editor of the Food Insect Newsletter.


This story 'Like swallowing fish hooks': Man dies after cockroach-eating contest first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.