Health category

Beth's Cafe in Seattle, home of a famed 12 egg omelet challenge, will suspend operations due to coronavirus mandates. The restaurant hopes to reopen when the restrictions are lifted.

One year anniversary of Juliet Lee’s passing

Today marks the one year anniversary of Fox 5 DC’s article about the passing of Juliet Lee, which was announced on the MLE website the day before. This remains the only significant information about the shock death, with no additional salient media coverage, autopsies, or criminal investigations having been promulgated since that date. A statement about the passing was picked up by Patch.com and several other outlets, which gave a date for the tragedy as September 9, 2019. Several social media comments contradicted that infomation, and gave her final date as August 16, 2019.

Searching the Montgomery County (MD) police database for mid-August 2019 events in Germantown, MD (Juliet’s hometown) brings up the following incident on which appears to correspond to Juliet Lee’s passing. The record is of minimal interest until the penultimate field, which is “SUDDENDEATHUNDETERMIND”. [I have redacted the address field even though it has only a street name and lacks a house number]

Direct linking to the entry is not allowed; if you want to view it for yourself, the easiest way is probably to go the police database website and search for Crime Report #190039103. This brings up the question: if the incident was labeled a crime, what was the result of the criminal investigation? Other unanswered questions include:

  • If the August 16 date is accurate, why did 24 days elapse between the tragedy and any announcement of it?
  • Who contacted Major League Eating about the fatality and when was that information provided?
  • Was Juliet Lee transported to a hospital and what medical personnel attended her?
  • Other than the Fox 5 article, why was there minimal media coverage of the incident? As far as I know. the Washington Post (Motto: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”) and its associated social media outlets have made absolutely no mention of Juliet Lee’s passing. (Washington Post search link)
  • Why was the record in the Montgomery County police database categorized as “WORKING CODE” ?
  • Why was Juliet Lee’s husband (or ex-husband), Joe Callow, not mentioned in the statement about her death; Juliet’s daughters are the only relatives mentioned.
  • Juliet Lee’s final video for Major League Eating was uploaded on August 22, six days after August 16. When was that video filmed and who recorded and uploaded it?
  • Why was there was no posting about Juliet Lee’s passing on MLE social media until the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in July? A post at the bottom of majorleagueeating.com was the sole mention by the organization.

2019 EatFeats post about the fatality. An anonymous comment appears to have some inside information about the incident.

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Shine.cn on big eating video deprecation

Shine.cn has an article about the deprecation of big eating videos on Chinese streaming platforms which mentions the passing of a host in Shenyang, Liaoning Province just before he was to broadcast himself eating a large bowl of pork belly in June. Some Chinese big eaters have rebranded, with @大胃mini (big stomach mini) changing her ID to @梨涡少女mini (dimple girl mini). The article calls into question the authenticity of some of the videos:

In reality, the body simply cannot handle extreme quantities of food every day. To keep viewers, hosts must cheat, either throwing up after the show, or cutting scenes where they spit out food they’ve chewed, making viewers believe they have actually eaten everything.

Loyal followers are very defensive when questions are raised about unusual eating habits, saying their favorite hosts are just “born that way” and there are frequent quarrels with others who question the authenticity of videos.

update Aug 22 The BBC also has an article about the decline of eating videos.

update Aug 24 The New York Times has an article.

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Mashed.com has a list titled "Professional eating champions who were seriously injured" which includes Takeru Kobayashi, Sonya Thomas, Ed "Cookie" Jarvis, and Wayne Algenio. The article does not mention Dana Hutchings passing away after choking in a taco eating contest in Fresno last year or any other competitive eating fatality.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. He is also the organizer of OL Masterminds Summit, a convention for offensive lineman. On July 11, Pro Football Talk criticized a hot wing eating contest held at that event for unsafe practices, which did not receive a positive response from Johnson.

University study on occasional oversize meals

A study by the University of Bath reports that occasional oversized meals do not have an immediate negative health impact on healthy males between the ages of 22 and 37.

Those who volunteered for the trial consumed almost twice as much pizza when pushing beyond their usual limits, doubling their calorie intake.

But the study found the amount of nutrients in their bloodstream kept within normal range.

Researchers say this shows that if an otherwise healthy person overindulges occasionally there are no immediate negative consequences in terms of losing metabolic control.

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Tim Janus appeared on the latest episode of the Run Along podcast to discuss his retirement and the reasons for the termination of his competitive eating career. At the peak of his training, he says he was drinking 3.5 gallons of water multiple times a day, which he immediate threw up.
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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