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April 19, 2011

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Burger contest triggers uproar

A HAMBURGER restaurant on Biyun Road in the Pudong New Area has stirred online controversy for its eating contests where some participants have felt sick after swallowing a seven-level, 2.3-kilogram hamburger in two hours without being allowed to use the toilet.

Contest rules state winners can have the 138-yuan-worth (US$21.13) hamburger for free but challengers cannot leave their tables for two hours.

Many local residents complained on KDS, a popular city online platform, saying that they nearly vomited or had a stomachache during the contest, which they believed was just a promotional campaign to attract customers.

They accused the restaurant owner of not caring about the damage caused to the participants' health with such large quantity of food and strict regulations, especially the ban on using toilets for two hours.

The residents, who failed in the two-hour contests, said on the forum that they nearly vomited when eating the seven-level hamburger made of meat, vegetable and bun, while some said they had stomachache afterwards, allegedly caused by the food believed to be not fresh.

In response, a restaurant official told Shanghai Daily that the eatery already had about 130 winners since the restaurant opened in September 2009 and all of them had left without paying the 138-yuan bill.

"Why are we being blamed if some challengers are not able to compete in the contest like others," asked the official surnamed Xu.

Besides the huge hamburger contest, the restaurant has also hosted another competition where participants are required to eat a piece of 2-kilogram steak. The Youth Daily quoted a restaurant waitress as saying that more than 50 customers had taken up the challenge but no one won so far.

Meanwhile, local doctors are warning residents not to take part in such contests as swallowing such huge hamburgers may save them money but it may come at a huge cost of damage to their stomach.

Participants can suffer from dilatation of the stomach or even gastrorrhagia and stomach perforation, which can be only cured through surgery, said Fan Zhuping, director of Renji Hospital's health care center.


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