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

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

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

Children suffered skin burns, severe stomach pains and food poisoning after consuming the colorful candies, according to Indonesia’s Ministry of Health, which urged parents, teachers and local health authorities to be vigilant.

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

About 25 children were injured after eating the candy, including two who were hospitalized, said the ministry’s director general, Maxi Raine Rondonuvu. No deaths were reported.

Using liquid nitrogen in food preparation is not illegal. The best chefs often use fumes to create theatrical effects when serving dishes. It is transparent, colorless and odorless and is often used in medical settings and as a food freezing ingredient.

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

“Liquid nitrogen is not only dangerous when consumed, but can cause serious breathing difficulties from nitrogen vapors that are inhaled for a long time,” Maxey said.

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

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

“Schools need to educate children in the community about the dangers of liquid nitrogen in food (to) prevent more cases of severe food poisoning,” Maxey said.

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New liquid nitrogen feed grain sparks controversy

In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued safety warnings warning that serious injury can result from eating foods such as ice cream, cereal, or cocktails made 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 doctor from Singapore. “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 quantities.

Yeo warned that he “wouldn’t advise anyone to eat it.”

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

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