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Deaths reveal dangers of festival gastronomic contests

July 26, 2013 DESTINATION, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The death of a man after downing six litres of beer in a drinking contest at a Spanish festival has followed the death of a contestant in a pie-eating competition in Townsville.

The deaths illustrate the dangers of competitions involving eating and drinking. Often held in an atmosphere of holiday or resort relaxation, and a magnet for tourists, such  contests can have fatal consequences.

In Spain a few days ago, Joaquin Alcaraz Garcia, reportedly renowned as a beer-drinking king, entered a tournament in which contestants had to drink as many litre glasses of beer as they could within 20 minutes.Sidebar LBH 250x250

After drinking six litres, Garcia slumped over, was violently ill and died.

Local mayor Jose Manuel Gracia told Spanish newspaper Hoy that the beer festival was a local tradition. Emergency service officials said the contestant was obese. Cause of death has not yet been announced.

In Queensland meanwhile, a man who entered a pie-eating competition exclaimed “jeez, this chilli pie is hot” and then died, the Townsville Bulletin reported.

Bruce Holland, 64, collapsed during the competition, held as part of State of Origin festivities at Bushland Beach near Townsville.

Cause of death has yet to be determined.

The chilli pie eating competition was held at State of Origin half time, onlookers said. Seven other competing pie eaters suffered no ill effects.

The danger of eating and drinking contests was why the Guinness Book of World Records removed its gastronomic section from 1990 onwards.

Awesome records set by professional eaters such as Edward “Bozo” Miller (an American who ate 27 large roast chickens one after the other at Trader Vic’s in San Francisco in 1963) were inspiring imitators, sometimes with fatal results.

Not all of the eating competitions involve consuming normal food or beverages.

In the US, last year, Edward Archbold, 32, died shortly after devouring dozens of live cockroaches and handfuls of worms during a South Florida cockroach-eating contest.

A statement by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Archbold fell ill shortly after his victory, collapsing in front of the Ben Siegel Reptile Store, where he was to receive a live python as a prize. He was pronounced dead in hospital. No other contestants suffered illness.

Written by : Peter Needham

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