WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid eating, drinking, or handling foods prepared using liquid nitrogen.
The department issued the warning Friday saying due to the extreme low temperature it can maintain, liquid nitrogen, though non-toxic, can cause severe damage to the skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested.
It can also cause breathing difficulties if the vapor is inhaled during the food or drink preparation.
Liquid nitrogen has become a popular way to prepare food under names like "Dragon's Breath," "Heaven's Breath," and "nitro puff" because it can make the person who's eating it look like they're breathing out smoke.
These foods and even drinks are sold in malls, food courts, kiosks, state or local fairs and other retail locations.
The FDA says it has received reports of severe and even life-threatening injuries including damage to the skin and internal organs due to the liquid nitrogen still being present in the food or drink when it's consumed.
The FDA says frozen confections, like ice cream, that also use liquid nitrogen to prepare it are safe because they're treated in a way that results in the complete evaporation of the liquid nitrogen before consumers eat it.
Anyone who has been injured by eating these products should call a healthcare professional right away.