A popular snack trend at malls and fairs across the country can cause damage to your skin and internal organs, according to a safety alert from the Food and Drug Administration.
The government agency is alerting parents and children about the possible side effects of products like “Dragon’s Breath,” “Heaven’s Breath” or “nitro puff.” The often fruity and colorful snacks look like oversize pieces of cereal, but liquid nitrogen — added to the products at the point of sale — allows people to blow out “smoke” as if they were dragons when they eat the product.
Photos and videos of the snacks are all over Instagram. User @donutmamii demonstrates how Dragon’s Breath works:
Snacking on Dragon’s Breath and similar products looks enticing, but the FDA said not to be fooled by the “oohs and ahhs.”
Liquid nitrogen is non-toxic according to the FDA, however, the extremely low temperature of the product can cause damage to the skin if mishandled, and inhaling the vapor can cause difficulty breathing — especially for people with asthma.
In 2017, Tina McArthur claimed her 14-year-old granddaughter suffered a chemical burn while trying out the novelty dessert at a Florida fair. McArthur said she took her granddaughter to the emergency room after she burned her thumb.
“The ER doctor had to cut it open, cut away the dead skin and get the infection out,” McArthur told WEAR TV. “They said had we not come in and got her finger treated she could have possibly lost her thumb.”
One pediatrician, Dr. Randall Reese, said ingesting liquids or foods with too much liquid nitrogen can do far worse than a burned thumb — it can cause severe frostbite or cryogenic burns to your mouth.
“We have seen a patient in our office who had a burn to the roof of their mouth … from putting the cold food in their mouth,” he told WEAR TV.
There are already two lawsuits involving the fad. A California man claims he suffered burns to his inner thighs when he placed a cup of Dragon’s Breath between his legs. He’s suing the company that sold him the product.
A South Carolina man alleges that he suffered a cut in his mouth after eating one piece of Dragon’s Breath and couldn’t eat normally for several weeks. The defendants in that case deny the allegations.
Aside from the cereal-like snack, liquid nitrogen may also be added to cheese puffs or some beverages to give off that fog effect.
The FDA said other foods on the market are prepared with liquid nitrogen, like some frozen treats. Those are not considered a danger because the liquid nitrogen evaporates before it’s eaten, unlike Dragon’s Breath and similar items.
Anyone who is injured while eating products with liquid nitrogen should see a doctor right away. Parents can report injuries to the FDA’s MedWatch page, and submit any questions to the FDA as well.