Bacon-Eating Contests Banned as Shortage Looms

After one pig industry group predicted a bacon shortage, the guys over at Major League Eating reacted swiftly, issuing a ban on all bacon-eating contests. This is getting serious!

Lisa Hubbard | FoodPix | Getty Images

For the uninitiated, Major League Eating is the league governing professional eating, much like the MLB is the league that governs professional baseball. The MLE puts on more than 80 professional eating contests each year, including the famous Coney Island Hot Dog-Eating Contest and the Hooters World Chicken Wing Championship. Its founders, the Shea brothers, are like the P.T. Barnums of professional eating.

They issued a statement, announcing a suspension “indefinitely” on all bacon-eating contests and urged all professional eaters, including the No. 1 ranked Joey Chestnut, who has won the Coney Island hot-dog contest for six years in a row, to cut back on eating bacon in their personal lives, as well.

“We cannot, in good conscience, allow Joey Chestnut to eat bacon during a global pork shortage,” said MLE President Richard Shea. “We estimate that Joey alone could eat 20 pounds of bacon in 10 minutes of competition.”

“I’m a huge bacon lover and an informal poll of our members [eaters] shows that 96 percent are bacon enthusiasts,” said George Shea, the chairman of MLE. “We thought there would be less bacon at higher costs next year and we realized we had to make a statement.”

By encouraging professional eaters to cut back on personal bacon consumption, George said he thinks it helps raise awareness for the issue — much like when celebrities come out for a cause.

“It will allow bacon consumers to consider whether or not they should cut back on their own consumption,” George said. “This is a pro-bacon move. We want to see bacon for the long haul.”

There is one exception to the bacon-eating contest ban: bacon-wrapped scallops.

That’s because bacon-wrapped scallops are “just really delicious” and “mostly scallop anyway,” Richard explained.

George said depending on how long the bacon shortage goes on, they would consider modifying their contests.

"We would obviously be able to do a turkey bacon or a Sizzlean kind of eating contest," George said.

All is not lost for breakfast lovers, however — there is no pancake shortage predicted, so the Wild Eggs National Pancake Eating Championship is still scheduled to hit the pan in Louisville on Saturday.

For a full list of eating contests and the rankings of professional eaters, including day-trader-turned-professional eater Tim Janus, check out

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