Binge-eating mukbang videos to be illegal in China under new food waste law

Social media stars who make a living by eating enormous quantities of food on camera could see their careers ended by a new law proposed in China.

The "mukbang", also known as an eating show, is a genre of online entertainment in which a host sits down to a feast and consumes the lot, sometimes in a livestream or a YouTube video.

The format, which originated in South Korea, has become a hit around the world, with millions of fans tuning in to watch their favourite creators fill their stomachs.

Brit Charna Rowley, 22, went public in 2019 with her decision to quit her job and film herself scoffing more than 5,000 calories worth of food at a time.

  • Daily Star's newsletter brings you the biggest and best stories – sign up today

It's particularly popular in China, where the most-watched videos on Douyin, the equivalent of TikTok, typically show petite young women making their way through enormous meals.

These mukbang creators, known colloquially as "big stomach stars", have been known to eat 15 burgers, 10 bowls of noodles and even an entire roast lamb in a single sitting.

The food consumed is often very high-calorie and health experts have raised concerns for those who indulge in the practice regularly.

President Xi has excoriated the video trend, referring to the "shocking and distressing" waste of food.

One man, identified only by his surname Wang, died in July from fatal bleeding in the brain believed to have been caused by eating too much red meat, which had also made him obese with high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Now the Chinese government is considering making such banquets illegal under a wide-ranging new law prohibiting food waste.

The policy, which has been supported by President Xi Jinping, was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for consideration last week.

If it passes into law, any Chinese citizen who posts videos online promoting overeating will face a fine of up to 100,000 yuan (£11,200).

Restaurants will also face fines if they induce customers to "order excessive meals and cause obvious waste". Diners who have excessive leftovers from their orders will also be charged an unspecified waste fee.

Since then many Douyin stars have deleted their mukbang videos in an effort to dodge a penalty.

Over-eating has long been a problem in Chinese society, with many wealthy citizens and officials purposefully ordering an obscene amount of food as a display of wealth.

In 2013 the "Empty Your Plate Campaign" was launched to encourage people to order only how much they could reasonably eat, with the Chinese Communist Party encouraging smaller dishes and taking leftovers home.

Source: Read Full Article