PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The message is straight-forward: Don’t imitate a fire-breathing dragon by eating cereal or cheese puffs super-cooled with liquid nitrogen.
The kid-craze is now banned in Suffolk County, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.
The fad is all over social media. It’s a super-cold dessert called “Dragon’s Breath.” As the person eating it exhales, it gives off a puff of smoke.
When asked if he ever tried it, 17-year-old Aldair Perez told McLogan, “No, but I’d like to. It seems really cool.”
So is this family fun or can it cause intestinal frostbite?
“It will look really cool, but it can go from really cool to going really wrong very quickly,” said David Zollo of ice cream shop Patchogue Freezology.
Health officials in Suffolk County have taken action, declaring that pouring liquid nitrogen on food is now banned, citing the action as an imminent health hazard.
“Liquid nitrogen is a dangerous substance,” Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said. “We are today sending out a blast email to all food establishments that we regulate, saying you are not allowed to serve this substance.”
Ingesting liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to the mouth, esophagus and stomach, and can easily blister fingers and hands, Tomarken said.
Local residents said they are shocked young people would even consider trying such a thing.
“I would never use the nitrogen challenge for my kids,” one person said.
“If my grandsons did that, I’d kill ’em,” another added.
“If it’s so detrimental to their health, I think parents should take another look,” another person said.
Using liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze ice cream, which Zollo does at his shop, is considered safe, health officials said, because the liquid nitrogen boils off as it mixes and disperses before it is served.
“At a certain point you have to protect people from themselves,” Zollo said. “There’s a lot of knowledge about nitrogen that just isn’t out there.”
Zollo’s ice cream customers ask for Dragon’s Breath, but said he has refused to serve it, and now all other establishments in Suffolk County must join in that health ban.
Tomarken warns that if inhaled liquid nitrogen can cause asphyxiation.