Joey Chestnut "banned" from Nathan's hot dog-eating contest in a beef over vegan meat

"I love you and appreciate you. Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!"

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published June 12, 2024 1:35PM (EDT)

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joey Chestnut, the 16-time champion of the Nathan's Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, is not going to be competing in this year's festivities. Chestnut took to Twitter/X and wrote "I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years [I'm] banned from the Nathan's July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest. I love competing in that event, I love celebrating America with my fans all over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title." 

He continued: "I love you and appreciate you.  Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!! STAY HUNGRY!"

According to a report from ABC News, the decision comes after Chestnut chose to represent Impossible Foods, a major supplier of vegan hot dogs and other products, as well as a top competitor of Nathan's.

"We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest," said Major League Eating, the organization that oversees professional competitive eating events, in a statement. They further wrote that Nathan's  "has long required eaters not to endorse a rival brand if they are going to compete in the country's most famous eating contest."

If Chestnut drops his Impossible Foods endorsement, he would be allowed back in the contest. Independance Day is only a few weeks away, so he'll be making a decision either way very soon. Chestnut's record stands with 76 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes. 

MORE FROM Michael La Corte