Health category

In an interview for TMZ.com, Joey Chestnut said he has no plans to retire and will continue to compete as long as his doctors give him a clean bill of health.
Michelle Lesco announced that her competing in the 2020 Nathan's finals is in doubt due to New York's requirement that Arizona residents self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival in the Empire State.

Smithfield Foods Sioux Falls meatpacking plant to resume operations

The New York Times reports that Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, SD, which has been labeled as the top coronavirus hotspot in the USA, will resume operations tomorrow. One of the products the facility produces is Nathan’s Famous hot dogs.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., where the virus sickened more than 1,000 people at a Smithfield pork processing plant, the outbreak appears to be slowing, Mayor Paul TenHaken said. More than 4,000 Smithfield employees, their family members and close contacts, were recently tested.

Yet the mayor fears that his city’s progress could be temporary. On Monday, the plant will begin slaughtering hogs again. Hundreds of employees will be back together at work.

“I’ll be honest, it makes me nervous,” Mr. TenHaken said. “We’ve seen how a zero-case facility can become a 1,000-case facility.”

Nathan’s Famous did not expect the closure to have a negative impact on hot dog supply in a SEC document from April.

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Nathan’s Famous SEC document

An April 21 SEC document for Nathan’s Famous announces that the company has received a $1.22M Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government and that its hot dogs were produced by a currently closed Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, SD which has been labelled as the top coronavirus hotspot in the USA. Despite the shutdown, Nathan’s does not expect a disruption in national frankfurter supplies even if the facility’s reopening (currently scheduled for the week of April 27) is delayed.

The primary manufacturer of our hot dogs, Smithfield Foods, has recently announced the closure of four of its plants due to COVID-19. The only plant closure that has any relationship to our operations is the Sioux Falls plant which is currently scheduled to reopen during the week of April 27, 2020. In the event that the Smithfield Foods plant reopening is delayed, we do not anticipate that the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak will have a material adverse effect on our supply of hot dogs over the next several months.

update Daily Beast reports that Nathan’s will return the loan.

update April 28 President Trump announced he will invoke the Defense Production Act to force meatpacking facilities to remain open. Nathan’s Famous executive chairman Howard Lorber is a friend of the Trump family and hosted a fundraiser in 2018.

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Smithfield Foods meatpacking plants in Cudahy, WI, Martin City, MO and Monmouth, IL have been closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks after its site in Sioux Falls, SD was declared the top hotspot for the virus in the United States. The Washington Post has an anonymous column by a Smithfield employee about her lawsuit over her employer's lack of safety provisions. (Smithfield is the manufacturer for Nathan's Famous hot dogs. I have not been able to find which facilities produce their frankfurters.)
Forbes has an article about Chinese billionaire Wan Long which calls him the owner of Nathan's Famous due to his holdings of Smithfield Foods. (I think that Smithfield is just the manufacturer for Nathan's which remains American owned). The BBC has a long article about conditions in the Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, SD which became the top coronavirus site in the entire country after 644 cases were detected in connection with the facility. A Nathan's consumer boycott appears to be developing due to its relationship with Smithfield.

Coronavirus outbreak at Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant

The New York Times ranked Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, SD as the #4 coronavirus hotspot in the United States after 190 cases were detected there. In 2014, Nathan’s Famous started a licensing agreement with Smithfield Foods for it to manufacture and distribute Nathan’s branded hot dogs. update The plant will be shutdown for three days to sanitize the facility. PBS.org has a report on the 2013 takeover of Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International for $4.7 billion, the largest Chinese takeover of any American company.

update Apr 12 Smithfield announced today the plant would be closed for an indefinite period

“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer, for Smithfield.

update April 14 There are now 545 coronavirus cases associated with the facility, which makes it the #2 hotspot according to the New York Times and the top located in the 50 states. (The overall #1 is an aircraft carrier currently in Guam).

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Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, CT announced they will sue its food service provider that produced the pancakes used in a fatal pancake eating contest held March 2017. (The current athletics director of SHU is former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who ate 120 pancakes to win a contest when he was a college student.) update Tim Janus has offered to testify in favor ot Chartwells, the food service provider.
Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, notorious for its "octuple bypass" burger challenge and its practice of spanking customers, announces it will not comply with a voluntary shutdown request and will continue serving customers in-house.

CDC recommends no events with 50+ people for next two months

The Center for Disease Control posted the following guidance on its website today:

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

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Bill "El Wingador" Simmons posted a tribute to the winner of Wing Bowl 2 and 3, Kevin "Heavy Keavy" O'Donnell, who recently passed away following a struggle with cancer. He is one of five multiple Wing Bowl Winners: Simmons (5), Joey Chestnut (3), Molly Schuyler (3), Jonathan Squibb (3), O'Donnell (2). update Crossing Broad and the Gloucester City News have obituaries.
News.ru reports (translated) that a woman passed away after choking in a cake eating contest held in Moscow on February 15. (via Nikolay Smirnov) update Metro.co.uk has a video of the contest and gives the name of the deceased as Alexandra Yudina. update Daily Mail and Mirror have articles.
The Kenyan Digest has a report on a bread eating contest awarding a new smartphone in which a teacher almost passed away after choking.
Monsters and Critics has a post about the steak eating challenge incident in last night's episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star. A woman drank so much water trying to finish a 96 ounce steak she suffered water intoxication and needed emergency assistance. (video)

Woman passes away after competing in Australia Day lamington eating contest

update Jan 29 Daily Mail has an article about the deceased giving her name as Megan Moon and her age as 51.

update Jan 27 Yahoo, CNN and the BBC have articles. The hotel has posted a statement on its facebook page.

News.com.au reports that a 60 year old woman passed away after choking and suffering a seizure while competing in an Australia Day lamington (sponge cake) eating contest held at the Beach House Hotel in Hervey Bay, QLD. (Newsweek | Daily Mail | SMH video)

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Brandon “Da Garbage Disposal” Clark hospitalized after house fire

update Jan 24 A Go Fund Me donation page has been set up by Brandon’s brother.

STLToday.com reports that Brandon “Da Garbage Disposal” Clark was hospitalized after trying to extinguish a fire in his Cahokia, IL home. Camp Jackson Fire Chief Christopher Davis was also taken to a hospital after experiencing a medical emergency fighting the fire. Clark’s daughter, Aryonna Clark, escaped the fire without injury. (BND.com article) update A KMOV news video has an interview with Clark after he was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon. He will need to return for treatment to burns on his arms and hands.

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Mic Flare has stared a youtube channel. His first video is about competitive eating after his colon was removed.
Mashed has a video titled "The Damaging Effects Food Challenges Have On Your Body" which includes footage of the Nathan's Finals and Michelle Lesco's Guinness record attempts. The video cites research by Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab that was found to be fraudulent.
Reddit.com has a thread about the dangers of competitive eating currently with 63 comments which was started by a tweet with a scan of a competitive eater who experienced acute pancreatitis after completing a burger challenge.
Hentgee Lim has an article in medium.com about pretending to be a college friend of Keigo Kirino, who passed away due to choking in a rice ball eating contest, and interviewing his family.
A Creators.com column by Scott LaFee mentions the recent passing of Juliet Lee, which still has a completely unknown cause.
Daily Mail reports that Subhash Yadav passed away after being challenged by his friend to eat 50 eggs in Uttar Pradesh, India. Doctors ruled that his death was due to complications from overeating.

RIP Juliet Lee 1965-2019

MajorLeagueEating.com has sad and shocking news: an obituary for Juliet Lee has been posted. No details about her passing are provided and I have not been able to track down any additional sources of information.

update Fox 5 has an article with these quotes from George Shea

“Juliet was in very good health and if you think of the number of times competitive eaters attend contests each year, it might be 3-10 contests a year so its not over the course of a year, an extraordinary addition of calories or both. …i have never heard of any impact like that. I can say that it certainly had nothing to do with competitive eating,” said Shea.

update Sept 23 A commenter gives the date of Juliet’s passing as August 16, more than three weeks before the date of September 9 in the MLE obituary. A comment on a Germantown Pulse facebook post also gives August as the month of passing.

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Competitor in Fresno Grizzlies taco qualifier passes away

update #5MLE have made their first social media update since Tuesday’s tragedy with an Instagram post about Badlands Booker’s new video. The Sacramento Bee has an article The family has set up a fundraising page on facebook

update #4 Yahoo.com has an interview with the family of the deceased. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced that choking was the cause of death.

Another tweet promoting Tuesday’s contest as a MLE qualifier has been deleted (Original URL) Here is a screen capture:

update #3Saturday’s contest has been removed from the MLE schedule.

update #2 Saturday’s MLE contest has been cancelled (Fresno Bee article)

The Fresno Grizzlies have deleted the June 26 tweet promoting last night’s contest as a MLE qualifier. Here is a screenshot:

update The Fresno Grizzlies have posted an official statement which denies that last night’s contest was MLE sanctioned or a qualifier for a MLE event. The contest was promoted as awarding a spot in Saturday’s MLE contest. The Fresno Grizzlies held qualifiers in 2017 and 2018. Both competitions were won by Zach Armas, who took 6th and 5th place in the MLE events.

The Fresno Bee reports that a competitor in last night’s taco eating contest at the Fresno Grizzlies ballpark passed away. The competition was to have awarded a spot in Saturday’s MLE contest. I believe this is the first fatality connected with a sanctioned event in American competitive eating history. Details about the incident:

Fans at the game said a man collapsed to the ground in the middle of the taco eating contest. Emergency medical technicians then attempted the Heimlich maneuver and CPR before paramedics arrived in an ambulance and tried to resuscitate him, fans added.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the man collapsed.

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NZ Herald reports that Philip Andrew Ludermann passed away on June 29 after choking in a pie eating contest held at a rugby club in New Zealand. Stuff.co.nz also has an article about the incident with quotes from Nela Zisser.
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