FDA issues warning about foods prepared with liquid nitrogen

Photo courtesy of the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to avoid eating, drinking or handling foods prepared with liquid nitrogen at the point of sale.

According to the FDA, liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain. The organization says inhaling the vapor released by a food or drink prepared with the substance immediately before consumption may also cause breathing difficulty, especially among individuals with asthma.

“Injuries have occurred from handling or eating products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption, even after the liquid nitrogen has fully evaporated due to the extremely low temperature of the food,” said the FDA in a press release.

These products are often marketed under the names “Dragon’s Breath,” “Heaven’s Breath,” “nitro puff” and other similar names. The FDA says the products may be sold in malls, food courts, kiosks, state or local fairs, and other food retail locations.

In general, the FDA says other foods treated with liquid nitrogen prior to the point of sale and before consumption, like some frozen confections, are treated in such a way that results in the complete evaporation of liquid nitrogen before reaching the consumer and do not pose a significant risk of injury.

Those who have been injured through the consumption of liquid nitrogen should contact their healthcare professional. Consumers should also consider reporting their injury to MedWatch.