Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services, James Tomarken, MD, today issued a warning about consuming a potentially dangerous dessert known as “Dragon’s Breath.”
Dragon’s Breath is a food novelty made by freezing cereal puffs in liquid nitrogen. The frozen cereal is then served in a cup and eaten using a skewer or similar utensil. When the frozen cereal is chewed, the cold condenses moisture in the consumer’s exhaled breath and give the appearance of breathing smoke.
“If an item infused with liquid nitrogen is prepared or consumed incorrectly, it could have harmful health consequences,” said Dr. Tomarken. ”Liquid nitrogen can cause damage to a person’s skin and internal organs and, if inhaled, it can cause asphyxiation (lack of oxygen).”
In a recent memo sent to local health officials the New York State Department of Health stated, “There is potential for injury associated with the use or service of liquid nitrogen, so we advise that precautions be taken when preparing or eating liquid nitrogen puffs. Instances of frostbite and tissue damage have been reported when residual liquid nitrogen is left in the serving cup. If fingers are used to remove the product from the cup, skin contact with liquid nitrogen can cause frostbite. Ingestion of liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Preparing the puffs in a manner that removes residual liquid nitrogen prior to serving effectively reduces the potential for injury.”
The Department of Health Services’ Bureau of Public Health Protection issues permits to food service establishments. Food Service providers who intend to serve products using liquid nitrogen may contact the Bureau at 631-852-5999 for guidance on handling and serving this product.