It’s freezing cold. It makes smoke come out of your nose and mouth. It may be life-threatening, at least according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dragon’s Breath is the latest craze in the ice cream industry, but the FDA warns its consumers could develop severe — and in some cases, deadly — injuries from it. The product is made using cereal balls, which are dipped in liquid nitrogen to quickly freeze them.
When the frozen cereal is chewed, “the cold condenses moisture in the consumer’s exhaled breath and gives the appearance they are breathing smoke,” according to New York health officials.
The liquid nitrogen component of Dragon’s Breath “can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain,” according to the recent alert from the FDA.
But Shashi Multani, owner of Dragon Ball Ice Cream in Fayette Mall, says the nitrogen is always drained from their product before it’s served to their customers.
“We take all of the precautions so that customers are safe and sound,” Multani said. He added that he advises customers to blow on the product a few times before consuming it, just as they would hot coffee.
Dragon’s Breath could be dangerous for individuals with asthma, the FDA warns, as inhaling the vapor may cause breathing difficulty.
In July, a Florida boy with asthma was rushed to the hospital when he had persistent coughing and then breathing troubles after eating Dragon’s Breath.
“What triggered this? The liquid nitrogen smoke from the Dragon’s Breath cereal,” the boy’s mother, Rachel Richard McKenny wrote on Facebook. “PLEASE, if you know someone that has even just a mild case of asthma, do NOT let them have this snack.”
There have also been reports of hand injuries from handling the Dragon’s Breath balls because of how cold they are. The product is typically served with skewers so customers do not have to touch them with their hands.
Lexington’s Dragon Ball Ice Cream, which has opened in April, has not had any health complaints with their product, Multani said. The local health department could not be reached Tuesday morning for comment.
Frostbite or tissue damage have been reported by other sellers of Dragon’s Breath due to residual liquid nitrogen left in the serving cup, according to Newsday.
Multani says it is important for all sellers of the product to follow the rules.
“I’m always there to watch everything and I teach (my employees) every step,” he said. “If someone has any problems, I will not hire them. We have to take care of our customers.
“You have to follow the rules,” Multani added.