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How Did a Florida Man Die From Eating Cockroaches?

Yep, a group of people in Deerfield Beach, Florida gathered at a reptile shop Friday night, to eat some live --insects-- cockroaches; in contest to win a ball python that retails for $700.

So a group of people in Deerfield Beach, Florida gathered at a reptile shop Friday night, to eat some live cockroaches. The person who ate the most was to win a ball python that retails for $700.

32-year-old Edward Archbold won, having eaten dozens of cockroaches. But before he could collected his prize, he fell to the floor outside of Ben Siegel Reptiles and was taken to a local hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival. What


As noted by the BBC, "roaches aren’t considered unsafe to eat, let alone deadly. And while a second report of Archbold’s death cites a University of Mexico study that states “[a]bout 1,700 species of bugs are eaten as a meat substitute in at least 113 countries around the world.” The shop owner added that his roaches are “…clean — raised for exotic pet feed.” But then how did Archbold die?

A woman at the Broward County examiner’s office told me, “I don’t believe there is a cause of death yet. The cause of death is pending.” When I asked for the ETA of any results, she said this sort of thing can take months.

Even if the hot roaches that players were suckin’ down on Friday night were supposedly clean, let’s see what Environmental Health Services of New York City — a familiar home-ground of the mutant bugs — has to add:

Do cockroaches transmit disease?
Cockroaches are scavengers. While walking on spoiled food in garbage containers, they pick up various bacterial organisms on their legs that they can later deposit on uncovered food. Cockroaches themselves are not implicated in the transmission of any diseases. However, many disease-causing organisms can grow and multiply in their guts and can then be deposited on silverware, plates etc. during defecation. For example, cockroaches can pick up disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella on their legs and later deposit them on foods and cause food poisoning. People continuously exposed to dust containing cockroach feces and crushed body parts become sensitized and may show allergic reaction and asthma after repeated exposure to such dust.

But even if the cockroaches were Salmonella-ridden, it’d be unlikely that Archbold would keel over so quickly. I want to guess that such a tragic ending to such a harmless roach gobbling contest was caused by some freakishly acute bodily dysfunction, especially because I still trust the shop-owner’s words that his cleanly-bred roaches are not worth worrying about. But I’m still not inclined to go eat a dozen crispy cockroaches anytime soon. I’ll stick to the minute amount of roaches that the FDA approves in the bulk-processed foods I eat.