We human beings sure love our dopey dessert trends, don’t we? As it happens, one of the latest, frozen cereal treat Dragon’s Breath—also called Dragon Breath, Heaven Breath, nitro puffs, snow balls, and other such things—is, um, kind of dangerous. That’s the official word from the Missouri Poison Center, which this week warned consumers that eating the stuff could, as KMOX Radio of St. Louis put it, “cause severe damage to the mouth, esophagus and stomach. And if touched, it could cause rapid frostbite.”
That’s because it’s made with liquid freaking nitrogen. Cooking with liquid nitrogen isn’t new, but if not used correctly, it could fuck your shit right up.
Dragon Breath was trademarked in 2017 by Chocolate Chair, a frozen dessert shop with locations in California and Nevada. In the trademark record, it’s described as “novelty frozen cereal, namely, cereal frozen by liquid nitrogen” and “frozen dessert consisting of flavored puffed rice or puffed corn cereal frozen by liquid nitrogen.”
Here’s how it works: “When the frozen cereal is chewed, the cold condenses moisture in the consumer’s exhaled breath and gives the appearance of breathing smoke,” according to health officials in Clinton County, New York. That description was part of a press release announcing a resolution to make “the sale or service of liquid nitrogen adulterated food products illegal throughout the county.”
The problem isn’t that it’s used in the dishes. The Clinton County Health Department release notes that liquid nitrogen is often used to “add froth to products such as ice cream and beer,” but notes that the nitrogen is typically used during manufacturing.
Julie Weber, director of the Missouri Poison Center, struck the same note, telling KMOX that “It’s not so much a problem that they’re coating it, it’s sometimes the liquid nitrogen doesn’t totally dissipate or evaporate, and some of that liquid could be left in the bottom of a bowl or dish that the child or adult is eating from.”
Basically, sure, it looks cool, but maybe be really sure it’s not going to burn a hole in your esophagus before you dig in.