Be careful when consuming liquid nitrogen.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said there is a potential for serious injury to the skin or internal organs when eating or drinking foods that have liquid nitrogen added to them right before consumption.
These products are often called “nitro puffs” or “Dragon’s Breath.”
Liquid nitrogen is non-toxic but can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled. Breathing in the vapor when it is at temperatures less than -300°f, can cause breathing difficulty, the FDA warns the public , especially to those with asthma.
Other foods where the liquid nitrogen is allowed to evaporate before it reaches the consumer do not pose a significant risk.
Ali Perez, the owner of Best Ice Cream in Fort Myers, said there is a problem with education when it comes to liquid nitrogen usage.
“There’s places that are actually handing the children the liquid nitrogen in a cup so they can dip the cereal balls or ice cream in it,” Perez said. “That should never happen. That is why the burns are occurring.”
Consuming food with liquid nitrogen has been used for decades. But the difference is that it must be completely absorbed before handing the food, often ice cream, to a customer. If smoke-like vapor exudes from the ice cream, for instance, it is advised to ask your server if liquid nitrogen was added moments before.
Perez doesn’t see this FDA announcement affecting her Fort Myers dessert business.
“We do these little things of popcorn and stuff that’s not going to hold the frozen effect for more than a minute. It’s not going to hurt you,” Perez said. “Dipping the ice cream in — that’s hurtful. Parents don’t even know what’s going on!”
Read the full safety warning released by the FDA here . Victims can report an injury to FDA MedWatch.