Junk food is not exactly top cuisine; you get what you pay for and governments and medical professionals around the world are keen to stress the health problems of long-term over-consumption of cheap meat cuts, too much sugar, salt and saturated fat, too much chocolate and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables. The obesity crisis is affecting our health and bringing mortality levels down. Yet, there are a number of unusual deaths to the ingredients or contents of the menu. Here is a selection of ten of the most bizarre or tragic incidents related to some of our favourite guilty pleasures:
1. Cheesy Chips Incident of Blackpool
Allan Glenny is currently serving a three year sentence in the UK for manslaughter after an incident at a chip shop in Blackpool. After requesting cheese to be put on the national dish, Glenny was incensed that the cheese had been incorrectly melted and argued with the person in the shop who’d served them to him. Another customer tried to assist but Glenny punched the second man and that single punch caused a brain haemorrhage that killed Ricky Guest-Binns.
2. Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate is the name of a famous brand of chocolate cake but the term took a sad and literal meaning for one factory worker in New Jersey. A most unusual situation saw Vincent Smith Jr. working on a walkway high above a vat of very hot chocolate mix when he fell off the platform and into the vat. The temperature of the chocolate (49C / 120F) would probably not have killed him but the mixing paddle was moving at sufficient speed that he died when it struck his head.
3. Exercise can Kill
Most people have a healthy relationship with junk food in that they exercise it off; this way we can enjoy the occasional treat and not feel too guilty. However when a nine year old girl lied about eating a chocolate bar, her grandmother made her run for three hours straight. Unfortunately, the girl was not a seasoned marathon runner and she died of dehydration and low salt levels, though some say a medical condition exacerbated the situation.
4. Twinkie Defence
It has passed into legend that Dan White killed two men in New York and later claimed that eating too many twinkies drove him insane and therefore was the cause of the crime. That is not entirely true. The actual defence was that the man ate nothing but junk food and far from causing this insanity it was used to demonstrate that he was already insane. The jury accepted this explanation and White was convicted of manslaughter.
5. The Hidden Danger of Taco Bell
They might not be as a big or as famous as McDonalds or Burger King outside of North America but there was a hidden danger for Diane Durre and her husband who were sat in their truck in the parking lot at a restaurant in Nebraska. 40mph winds caused the restaurant advertising sign to fall over, crushing their truck. Though her husband and the family pets were unharmed, the accident killed Diane.
6. Taco ‘ The Cold Killer
Just after New Year 2011, a Ã‚ employee from Spokane, Washington State was found inside a cooler in the restaurant at which he worked. According to staff, he had called the Police not long before the discovery of his body. Furthermore, he had locked himself inside the cooler shortly after arriving for work at 8pm. He did not appear to have died of exposure or exhibit any visible sign of injury.
7. Heart Attack Grill Fan Dies of Heart Attack
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Las Vegas restaurant famous for 9000 calorie burgers should call itself ‘The Heart Attack Grill’. Nor should it come as any surprise that a man who ate there every day would sooner or later die of a heart attack. That is what happened to John Alleman who ate there every day and even acted as a free marketing tool by standing outside the restaurant and encouraging passers-by to enter. He was just 52 on the day he died, waiting for the bus after another artery-clogging meal.
8. Greenhouses Gases
It is well-known that carbon dioxide is a danger to the planet but for one woman at a McDonalds restaurant in Georgia, USA. The woman was found dead in the toilet at the restaurant and was discovered to have suffered CO2 poisoning. It was later discovered that the leaking hose of one of the soft drinks machines had caused a build-up of the gas that reached deadly levels and caused the woman’s unfortunate demise.
9. Police Brutality at Taco Bell
Negligence, not saturated fat, was deemed to be the cause of death of one drunken man at another Taco Bell restaurant. The man had been stopped by two Police officers and left to his own devices near the restaurant despite clearly being intoxicated while driving. They removed the man from his car, took him to the restaurant and left him there with the instruction to call a cab. The man was later hit by a car and died. The Police Officers were charged with negligence.
10. Killed by a Kebab
Many Brits know the term ‘dying for a kebab’ but for one man in Brighton in 2008, this tragedy became all too real. He had been a regular at the kebab shop and was well known to staff on the day he died, having taken only two bites of his favoured Shish. It wasn’t an allergic reaction, nor was it an overdose of the chilli sauce. The man choked and died; though emergency services had tried to revive him, their efforts ultimately failed.
We know the dangers of junk food from government awareness campaigns and health information. These are the risks we know but there are some that are more unusual, the bizarre, the accidental and the peculiar ways for people to die around junk food that sometimes have nothing to do with the food. There are many more examples around the internet and no doubt you may heard some of your own.