Indonesia: Warning issued over ‘dragon’s breath’ viral video trend



CNN

Indonesia is warning people against consuming liquid nitrogen after more than 20 children were injured eating a street snack known as “dragon’s breath,” which is at the center of a dangerous new viral video trend.

The children suffered skin burns, severe stomach pains and food poisoning after consuming the colorful sweets, according to Indonesia’s health ministry, which urges parents, teachers and local health authorities to be vigilant.

The candies are dipped in liquid nitrogen to create a vapor effect when eaten. They are popular with children, dozens of whom have uploaded clips to the short video app TikTok showing them blowing the fumes from their mouths, noses and ears. A video showing the preparation of the snack by a street vendor has been viewed nearly 10 million times.

About 25 children have been injured consuming the sweets, including two who have been hospitalized, said the ministry’s director-general, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu. No deaths have been reported.

The use of liquid nitrogen in food preparation is not illegal. Top chefs often use the vapors to create theatrical effects when serving dishes. It is clear, colorless and odorless and is widely used in medical settings and as an ingredient to freeze food.

However, if not used properly, it can be dangerous.

“Liquid nitrogen is not only dangerous when consumed, it can also cause serious breathing difficulties from nitrogen vapors inhaled over a long period of time,” said Maxi.

The first case was reported in July 2022, according to the ministry, when a child from a village in East Java’s Ponorogo regency suffered cold burns on his skin after eating the snack.

More cases were reported in November and December, including a 4-year-old boy who was hospitalized in the capital Jakarta with severe abdominal pain.

“Schools should educate children in the community about the dangers of liquid nitrogen in food[to]prevent more cases of severe food poisoning,” Maxi said.

– Source:
HLN
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New cereals containing liquid nitrogen are causing controversy

In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued safety alerts warning that serious injury could result from eating foods such as ice cream, cereal, or cocktails prepared with liquid nitrogen.

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

“This is a dangerous chemical compound,” said Clarence Yeo, a Singapore-based physician. “It irritates the stomach and can cause burns in the mouth and esophagus. Children would be particularly sensitive to (its effects) if eaten in large amounts.

Yeo warned that he “would not advise anyone to eat it.”

“You could end up in the hospital and the worst case scenario could be organ damage,” he said.

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