The Flying Shrimp of Death

Food allergies are on the rise. In the U.S. alone, they are responsible for some 30,000 emergency room visits per year, and somewhere between 150-200 deaths! Shrimp allergies are among the more serious. Not a good thing. Not a joke. But some folks can’t seem to tell the difference between serious and a joke…

In December 2000, a Long Island furrier and his family gathered at a Benihana restaurant to enjoy the show and dinner. The chef sliced and diced, tossed things in the air, all the usual sort of thing. As they often do, he tossed a shrimp here and there to the eagerly watching crowd. Now, here’s the disputed part. Jerry Colaitis, the furrier in question, apparently ducked to avoid being hit by the shrimp. Or at least that’s what his widow says. Her claim, in a $10 million lawsuit filed against Benihana, is that he ducked (after having asked the chef not to flip the shrimp at him… but wait, isn’t that part of the show that they were there for?), and injured two of his neck vertabrae. Over the course of the next ten months, he had two operations on those neck vertabrae, and died of surgical complications after the second one. Now, the chef claims that Mr. Colaitis was attempting to catch the shrimp in his mouth, lunged in some direction or other, and perhaps injured his neck that way – if there was even any relationship between his vertabrae and the dinner. There seems to also be some question as to whether or not the vertabral injuries were a pre-existing condition…

There’s too much good stuff out there on this on the internet. The best comment, from Fark:

“You have to admit, of all the ways a Benihana chef could have killed the man–his expert wizardry with knives, his ability to dice raw meat midair, his precise spatularic stylings–he cleverly used a common shrimp. Those ninjas that disguise themselves as Benihana chefs are as cunning as they are evil…”

And as long as we’re looking at shrimp deaths:

A Florida jury has awarded $12.3 million to an Ecuadorian shrimp farming company that claimed DuPont’s Benlate fungicide poisoned its harvest. Aquamar S.A. contended that Benlate and other pesticides seeped into the water after being used on banana plantations and killed their shrimp. The case mirrored one that DuPont lost in Florida in November. In that case, a shrimp farmer was awarded $10 million. (Needless to say, DuPont is appealling these decisions.)

I also refer you to God Hates Shrimp… “Pinch the Tail, Suck the Head, Burn in Hell”


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