Liquid nitrogen puffs are one of the newest fad foods. I think they may have been made popular on Instagram and YouTube. I know I've seen quite a few people posting pictures of them on social media from fairs and malls near me. I was not aware of the risks associated with eating them. I wanted to make sure to share what I learned today with all of you.
Do you know what liquid nitrogen puffs or Dragon’s Breath is?
Liquid nitrogen puffs are a novelty dessert made of fruity cereal puffs or other light and airy snacks (things like popcorn, marshmallows, wafers, whipped cream, cheese puffs, etc.) that are then soaked in liquid nitrogen. These snacks go by many names including: nitro puffs, nitro snacks, nitro pop, nitro balls, dragon nitro puff, dragon puffs, dragon balls, dragon smoke, snow balls, liquid nitrogen snowballs, liquid nitrogen candy, Heaven Breath a.k.a. Heaven’s Breath, and most commonly, Dragon’s Breath.
Dragon’s Breath was originally invented and served at “minibar” by José Andrés in 2008. After Andrés stopped serving it at his LA restaurant “The Bazaar” in 2009, it spread throughout Taiwan, Korea, and the Philippines over the following years.
What was the "Safety Alert"
The US Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert on August 30, warning consumers about the potential dangers of eating food prepared with liquid nitrogen.The FDA said serious injury, including internal organ damage, can result from eating foods such as ice cream, cereal or cocktails prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale and eating it shortly thereafter.
These products are often marketed under the names "Dragon’s Breath," "Heaven’s Breath," "nitro puff" and other similar names.
According to the FDA "Liquid nitrogen, although non-toxic, can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidently ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain. Inhaling the vapor released by a food or drink prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption may also cause breathing difficulty, especially among individuals with asthma. This safety alert advises consumers to avoid eating, drinking, or handling foods prepared using liquid nitrogen at point of sale and immediately before consumption, due to risk of injury."
Do you remember this story?
In 2017, Tina McArthur claimed her 14-year-old granddaughter suffered a chemical burn while trying out the novelty dessert at a Florida fair.
"Around 20 minutes in, the cough became really consistent. By the time we passed the Palencia subdivision, he was coughing so bad that he was having trouble catching his breath," she wrote on Facebook.
"We knew he couldn’t breathe, and we knew that we couldn’t get him to the hospital in time," she continued.
She pulled into a nearby fire station, where EMTs started Johnny on albuterol treatment and placed him on a IV drip before they reached Flagler Hospital. We have the full article here if you want to learn more.
Have you been hurt?
Consumers who have experienced an injury because of handling or eating products prepared with liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, immediately before consumption, should consult their healthcare professional. Consumers should also consider reporting their injury to MedWatch. The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to Submit An Inquiry, or to visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional information.