An eatery in China that enticed its patrons to consume over 100 dumplings in exchange for a free meal was snubbed by authorities looking into whether it breached China’s prohibition against food waste.
The local authorities of Yibin City in the southwest province of Sichuan took over the restaurant after learning the story of their “king of big stomach challenge,” The state-owned news outlet The Cover reported this week.
The event was reported to have involved guests who had to eat 108 chaotic house, spicy wonton dumplings in the fastest time possible to be in the running for a free meal and other prizes.
To attract attention to the offer, the restaurant promoted the promotion on social media to attract customers, only to end up in the spotlight after they received a letter from the State Administration for Market Regulation declaring it would launch an investigation into whether the restaurant violated the law governing food waste.
Although eating contests aren’t popular in Western nations, they can also create some fame for their winners. For instance, Joey Chestnut, who won Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest last week in Coney Island by devouring more than 62 hot dogs in just 10 minutes, can be sensitive in China. Delicate issue in China.
Many people in the United States remember the food crisis of the 1950s and 60s, which claimed the lives of around 45 million.
The Cover reported that the restaurant it did not mention was one of many being investigated by authorities concerning similar competitions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has previously described food waste as “shocking and distressing,” In March of this year, he said that the agricultural supply was the base of national security.
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The law prohibiting food waste was passed in 2021 in response to the sharp criticisms by the government of bloggers who live-streamed themselves eating to attract viewers. Social Media platforms then took down a lot of users’ accounts.
According to the law, restaurant owners could be punished with up to 10,000 Yuan ($1,400) when the establishments “induce or mislead customers to order excessively to cause obvious waste.”
Television and radio stations and audio and video providers online can be subject to a maximum penalty of 10 times the amount if they’re identified as being associated with “making, publishing, promoting programs or audio messages about eating excessively and binge eating and drinking.”
The restaurant in Yibin “demonstrates behaviors of binge eating and drinking and inducing customers to order excessively,” the Cover stated in a report citing an official from the market’s regulator in Yibin.
However, certain Chinese Internet users criticized the authorities for extending their reach.
“Is this considered wasted? Why don’t we let people compete to be the largest eater? What happens if the food that isn’t eaten there be distributed to the less fortunate?” wrote one user on Weibo, the Chinese alternative to Twitter.
Another user pointed out the nation’s poor record regarding food security, which has led to numerous scandals that range from contaminated infant milk powder to the consumption of “gutter oil” – recycled oil contaminated with food waste and even sewer waste.