A cockroach-eating contest at Six Flags Great America is being reviewed following reports of a man collapsing after consuming roaches and worms in a Florida challenge.
The Florida man reportedly died last week after consuming dozens of roaches and worms as part of a contest to win a python at a reptile store in Deerfield Beach, according to Reuters. In response, Six Flags Great America will be reviewing a contest scheduled for Friday while the amusement park chain reviews the competitions nationwide. Katy Enrique, communications manager for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, originally said the contest scheduled for Friday had been canceled, but said Tuesday afternoon official determination would be made later in the week.
“We are confident our eating contests are safe as the insects we use are raised specifically for human consumption,” according to a statement from Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. “Insects are considered a delicacy in many cultures; however, even though this appears to be an isolated incident, we are reviewing the eating contests at our parks to ensure we maintain a safe environment for our guests.”
The contests have been held at the parks “on and off” since 2006 as part of "Fright Fest," an annual Halloween-themed event that this year runs through Oct. 28. The last contest in Gurnee was held in 2011. A Tribune story from last year quoted a park spokesperson as saying the competition was “back by popular demand” and also quoted a Lake County Health Department official who advised against the eating of the insects due to health concerns. Six Flags also held the same competition in 2008.
The Six Flags Great America website touted the “Friday Night Feast” event through Tuesday afternoon, asking patrons to “witness some of our
crazy daring guests race to finish live Adult Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches for the chance to win 2013 Season Passes and more!”
The cause of death in the Florida incident is pending an autopsy. Reuters reports Edward Archbold, 32, fell ill shortly after consuming dozens of roaches and worms and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. No other contestants reported medical problems after the competition, Reuters reports.
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