Is It Dangerous To Eat Nitrogen Ice Cream?

If your social media algorithms have been providing you with plenty of food content, you've likely come across some liquid nitrogen-infused treats being shown off and eaten on your feed. Foods made with this liquid have a smoke-like effect that is nothing short of attention-grabbing. However, while this stunt adds plenty of pizzazz to any dish's presentation, there may be concerns about consuming this as a dessert.

While products from waffle-croissant hybrids to fancy cocktails have been paired with liquid nitrogen to create a striking appearance, ice cream was the oldest food paired with this liquid. Surprisingly, liquid nitrogen has been used to make ice cream since the 19th century, even though the steamy effects give the dessert a futuristic appearance. However, this infatuation with nitrogen-infused ice cream does come with the question: Is it really safe to consume? When it comes down to it, there can be quite a few risks for the handler and the consumer to consider before chowing down on this unique treat.

Be sure to proceed with caution and eat nitrogen ice cream made by experts

One of the most obvious dangers of enjoying nitrogen ice cream is the product's extremely cold temperatures. The liquid nitrogen's temperature can easily reach below -300 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause serious damage to the human body (via Yale Environmental Health and Safety). The FDA states that any liquid nitrogen that has not evaporated off the ice cream treat can be accidentally ingested, causing internal irritation, burns, and even organ damage, all at varying levels of severity. 

Even the vapors alone can cause damage to the outer body parts it touches, including one's eye. While ice cream and similar frozen desserts are the most common to pair with the liquid, any mishandling of liquid nitrogen products — from cocktails to snack foods — can pose a threat to one's health. Not only do you have to worry about your internal organs when ingesting this ice cream, but liquid nitrogen is also considered an asphyxiant. This means that liquid nitrogen should also be used outside of confined areas, as the gas form will displace the oxygen present and can cause suffocation.

Overall, nitrogen ice cream should only be eaten if the food has been handled by experts who are properly trained and are using food-grade liquid nitrogen. Making this at home or purchasing the product from people who may not know exactly what they're doing can pose serious risks that just aren't worth the ice cream.