Pub sparks outrage by offering free food to those over 25 stone

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Attention: free food for those over 25 stone
Attention: free food for those over 25 stone

Related tags: Obesity, Nutrition

A northern pub famed for its Man v Food challenges has been criticised for offering free food to customers weighing more than 25 stone.

The George in Stockton, Teesside, has sparked outrage among foodbank operators and MPs alike for weighing in obese customers before giving them a free meal.

Landlord Craig Harker frequently presents Man v Food​ challenges to punters, including one to eat 100 chicken nuggets in 10 minutes. It also offers a 220oz steak.

The operator has said he will contribute 50% towards the cost of a headstone, should one of his punters die while scoffing through a challenge.

Tip the scales

Those who tip the scales in the right direction can gorge themselves on free burgers and Parmesan, or ‘Parmo’, which is an escalope of chicken or pork, that has been breaded and fried and covered in Béchamel sauce and cheese.

Harker posted his latest free food offer to supersized customers on the pub’s Facebook page this week, but drew criticism from health campaigners, food banks and even his local MP, shortly after.

The operator claimed his challenges attracted customers from across the country, but British Obesity Society chair Jane DeVille-Almond said: “It is a sign of our times when people do not take health seriously.

“The owner of the pub clearly has no idea of the difficulties morbidly obese people face and it is sad he is using their problems to get publicity for the pub. I really do hope no one takes him on the challenge.”

However, Harker denied he was being irresponsible and said he was not asking children to come and eat giant burgers, but it was grown adults coming in for free food. “It’s a bit of fun,” he added.

‘Not worried about calories’

“With our eating challenges, people ask if we are not worried about calories,” he told The Mirror​.

“But we want to do the biggest food in the world, so we want to reward the people who want the most.

“And if they are coming specifically for the free food, they won’t mind weighing themselves.”

Stockton South Labour MP Paul Williams said the operator had a duty to act responsibly and said: “I’m all for a bit of fun, but am firmly against anything that might mock people because of their weight or promote unhealthy lifestyles.”

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