Florida Man Chokes to Death in Roach-Eating Contest

An autopsy of Edward Archbold reveals he died from asphyxia

Autopsy results are out on the man who allegedly died after ingesting live insects in a cockroach eating contest in October.

Tests show Edward Archbold didn't suffer from a pre-existing condition, nor was he intoxicated at the time. The 32-year-old man from West Palm Beach died as a result of “asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents,” the Broward County medical examiner's office writes in a statement.

Parts of the cockroaches were lodged in his airway, and he started experiencing difficulty breathing, ABC News clarifies.

The coroners who examined the man confirm that he had not taken any drugs prior to the incident, and rule his death an accident.

As we reported last month, Mr. Archbold entered a competition at the Ben Siegel Reptiles store in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The prize was a python which he planned to sell for about $500 (€385).

At the time, Mr. Siegel explained that several other contestants had eaten the bugs, and had experienced no health issues. None of the 30 people that participated in the competition was hospitalized.

“[They] are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles,” he said.

Archbold won the contest, but couldn't claim his prize as he collapsed soon after, in front of the pet store, on Friday, October 5. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The organizer of the contest cannot be held legally accountable for Archbold' death, since all participants signed a waiver “accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest,” according to Mr. Siegel's attorney.

Professor of entomology Michael Adams, of the University of California explained that the man might have been allergic to a substance that the bugs had consumed, or were exposed to.

“Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don't think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat. […] Some people do have allergies to roaches, […] but there are no toxins in roaches or related insects,” professor Adams says.

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