Five weirdest food deaths of 2012: Killed by bugs, beans and empanada makers
We must eat to live -- but sometimes what we eat and drink also kills us. The oddest things can cook our goose. This past year saw many food-assisted expirations and accidents that were peculiar, creepy -- and very, very unappetizing.
Here's our list of the five weirdest food deaths of 2012.
See also: -Heart attack at the Heart Attack Grill and five ironic food-related deaths -Burger King death: Hold the pickles, call the coroner -Killer beef is back as one of the five most demonized foods
5. Death by eating roaches.
Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, entered a bug-eating contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store on October 6, 2012. He and thirty other contestants ingested insects like mealworms and roaches for a chance to win a free python. Archbold ate about two ounces of meal worms, 35 horn worms and a considerable amount of roaches. He won the contest, but soon after began vomiting and collapsed outside the store. He was taken to the hospital where, according to a report from the local medical examiner's office, he died of "asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents."
The death has been officially ruled an accident, and store owner Ben Seigel told the Miami Herald that every contestant signed a waiver so that the store could not be held liable.
4. Death by pinto beans.
On March 15, 2012, Raymond Segura Jr., a 56-year-old employee of the Kelley Bean Company's facility in Brush, was buried under a fifteen-to-twenty-foot mountain of pinto beans. The beans are brought into the warehouse by an overhead conveyor belt, but it's still unclear how Segura ended up submerged. Rescue workers -- including four prison inmates -- spent an hour trying to free Segura from the beans, but when they finally got to him, he was already dead.
3. Death by Coca-Cola.
Natasha Harris, a thirty-year-old, stay-at-home mother of eight children from Invercargill, New Zealand, died after a heart attack. At an inquest, a local pathologist testified that Harris's reported two-gallon a day Coca-Cola habit may have contributed to her death. The pathologist said she likely suffered from low potassium, probably caused by poor nutrition exacerbated by excessive soda consumption, and the "toxic levels of caffeine" didn't help.
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola Oceania offered this: "We concur with the information shared by the coroner's office that the grossly excessive ingestion of any food product, including water, over a short period of time with the inadequate consumption of essential nutrients, and the failure to seek appropriate medical intervention when needed, can be dramatically symptomatic."
2. Death by tuna.
Around 7 a.m. on October 14, 2012, Jose Melena, a 62-year-old employee of the Bumble Bee Tuna plant in Santa Fe Springs, California, apparently was cooked to death in a large, industrial steaming device. Melena had worked at the plant for six years, and his job was to put sealed cans of tuna into a pressure cooker to sterilize it; it's not known how he wound up inside the oven. A spokesperson for the Bumble Bee Foods plant told KTLA News, "The entire Bumble Bee Foods family is saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Melena family."
1. Death by empanada.
Brazilians Jorge Beltrao Negromonte, 50, his wife Isabel Pires, 51, and his mistress Bruna da Silva, 25 reportedly lured two women with offers of employment into their home, then killed them to make empanada filling. The pastries were apparently then sold on the street. The fiendish crime was discovered after one of the women was arrested with a victim's credit card, and what was left of the bodies of the two murdered women was found buried in the garden of the home.
It was reported that angry neighbors -- upset empanada consumers? -- burned the house to the ground.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.
More Food & Drink News
- Small Is Big: A Second Helping of Westword Food & Drink, September 28 - October 2
- Get a Taste of Il Porcellino Tonight, Before It Opens in Late October in Berkeley
- Friday Night Bazaar Transforms to Night Bazaar Denver With New Location Starting Tonight
- Reader: Complaints About Quality of Barbecue Should Focus on Quality of Transplants