A seemingly harmless treat is actually dangerous


Sakshi Lawande

Liquid nitrogen-based stores bring potential dangers to their customers and employees.

Sakshi Lawande, Copy Editor

Liquid nitrogen has been quite a trend in the culinary world, from exquisite restaurants using it in making delicacies to ice cream manufacturing industries creating flavorful treats.

The substance serves many purposes in food and beverage production. Ice cream manufacturers have created new efficiencies by using liquid nitrogen to improve the quality of the finished product. However, consumers command change.

If workers get liquid nitrogen on their skin while manufacturing the ice cream, they can suffer severe burns. If some amount of the nitrogen remains in the finished product, and customers consume the ice cream, it can potentially cause esophageal and stomach tissue to freeze. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert warning the public about the potential dangers of eating food prepared with liquid nitrogen. “Serious injuries, including internal organ damage, can result from eating foods such as ice cream prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale and eating it shortly thereafter,” they said. 

Liquid nitrogen is exceptionally cold, with a temperature of -321 degrees Fahrenheit, and it should be treated with appropriate caution, especially if being used by untrained personnel. If not handled safely, it can lead to highly dangerous situations. 

Mrs. Bildner, a chemistry teacher at Pleasant Valley High School, is well-informed of the dangers of liquid nitrogen. “We typically think of skin burns developing from heat, but these burns are equivalent to a frostbite and they are just as harmful,” Bildner said. 

A Florida mother whose son was hospitalized after eating a liquid-nitrogen based snack is warning others about the dangers of the substance, especially for those with asthma. Around twenty minutes into their ride home after consuming the treat, her son was coughing and having trouble catching his breath. It got so bad they had to go the hospital.

The boy returned from the hospital the next day the next day and the mom is now spreading the word to avoid liquid nitrogen as it can irritate a person’s airways, regardless of whether they have asthma or not.  

Locally, N7 Nitrogen Ice Cream recently opened in Bettendorf. N7 is the first in the Quad City area to use such an interesting process in making ice cream, attracting many locals for the amusement.