FDA Warns Against Consuming Trendy Foods Made With Liquid Nitrogen

liquid nitrogen cocktail
A bartender serves liquid nitrogen cocktails. The FDA issued a new warning against consuming the cocktails or any other food or drink prepared immediately before it is served using liquid nitrogen. Mike Coppola/Getty Images for iPic

The trendy dessert Dragon's Breath may draw the eye of fellow diners in a restaurant—but the side effects of consuming the treat that is made with liquid nitrogen might not be worth it.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Thursday that consumers should try to avoid consuming or even touching foods prepared using the incredibly cold chemical substance.

Liquid nitrogen can injure those who come in contact with it as well as those who consume it when it's been added to a food or drink product right before it is ingested, the FDA warned. While it can be found in some gourmet kitchens where trained chefs use it carefully, it still poses a health risk.

Last month, a mother posted a warning to Facebook after her son, who she said had mild asthma, needed emergency medical treatment after consuming a treat called Dragon's Breath at a mall in which they were shopping. The snack is cereal coated in liquid nitrogen in order to make the consumer appear to blow smoke like a dragon.

Consuming or coming in contact with the liquid nitrogen can cause a host of issues for those looking to enjoy a hip dessert. While the chemical is technically nontoxic, it reaches a very cold temperature and if the vapor that it gives off is inhaled, it can cause breathing problems in anyone but especially those who suffer from asthma. It can also cause significant damage to the skin and the internal organs of anyone who consumes it as well, according to the FDA.

The warning comes after the FDA was made aware of cases in which consumers suffered extreme damage to their skin and organs that was caused by leftover amounts of the chemical in the food or drink they consumed. In some cases, the damage was so severe it was life-threatening, the FDA said.

These concerns do not transfer to items treated with the chemical long before the point of sale, because the item is no longer at an extremely low temperature and the chemical has evaporated.

Foods that are sometimes treated with the liquid nitrogen include beverages made to look like they're smoking or giving off a thick fog. Other foods include ice creams and more recently, cheese puffs and cereals treated with the chemical.