Suffolk bans use of liquid nitrogen to serve cereal

Posted: Updated:
Ice cream flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen is a tasty, popular new treat — but experts are warning that other food products using liquid nitrogen can be dangerous. Ice cream flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen is a tasty, popular new treat — but experts are warning that other food products using liquid nitrogen can be dangerous.
It's cereal dipped in liquid nitrogen. It's cereal dipped in liquid nitrogen.
When you eat it, it looks like you're breathing smoke like a dragon. When you eat it, it looks like you're breathing smoke like a dragon.
PATCHOGUE -

Ice cream flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen is a tasty, popular new treat — but experts are warning that other food products using liquid nitrogen can be dangerous.

Among them is "Dragon's Breath." It's cereal dipped in liquid nitrogen. When you eat it, it looks like you're breathing smoke like a dragon. You can find videos online alongside the hashtag #DragonsBreath.

The Suffolk County Health Department says it's very dangerous because liquid nitrogen can burn you from the inside out. 

"The average consumer will think if it is served in a store or kiosk it's safe," says Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk's health commissioner. "What's the big problem? Well there are big problems."

Dragon's Breath is liquid nitrogen poured over puffed cereal and served. But residual liquid nitrogen can remain in the cereal at -320 degrees Fahrenheit, experts say. That's cold enough to burn skin, and the vapors can also trigger asthma attacks. 

Suffolk has already banned the product. So have several other counties in New York.

Places like Freezology in Patchogue serve flash-frozen ice cream, which has not been banned. Owner Dave Zolo says no liquid nitrogen remains in the ice cream when it's served.

As for Dragon's Breath, he says he experimented with it and deemed it unsafe from the start.

"I get calls about it once or twice a day," Zolo says. "It's a very popular thing, since it's on social media a lot. But we don't serve it here. We never have."

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