Can you eat liquid nitrogen ice cream?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat liquid nitrogen ice cream?” with an in-depth analysis of liquid nitrogen, the risks of working with liquid nitrogen and the risks of eating liquid nitrogen ice cream. 

Read on to know the tips to handle liquid nitrogen safely. 

Can you eat liquid nitrogen ice cream? 

No, it is warned by the United States Food and Drug Administration to not eat liquid nitrogen ice cream. The FDA stated that the liquid nitrogen is so chilled it can be dangerous to an individuals’ health. The consumption of liquid nitrogen can even burn people’s throats as it is extremely cold.

In some severe cases, it can result in internal damage to organs. Consuming something that cold can cause bronchospasm, irritation of the lining.

What is liquid nitrogen?

Liquid nitrogen is a potent and potentially hazardous form of nitrogen that freezes the water content of food and drinks within moments. It is colourless, flavourless and scentless. It is also very cold, with a temperature of -321℉. 

Ice cream manufacturers have developed new facilities in the ice cream freezing process by utilising liquid nitrogen to increase the flow of work and improve the quality of the finished product. 

Sadly, liquid nitrogen can be hazardous if it is not managed correctly. If some amount of nitrogen remains in the product either in the form of gas or liquid, it can result in severe bodily harm.

The potential risks of eating liquid nitrogen ice cream

The risks of eating liquid nitrogen ice cream can be severe with the ice cream having a temperature of -321 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooling any kind of product down to sub-zero temperatures can prove to be potentially hazardous because of the contact with our warm internal body temperature. In some cases, the danger could prove to be fatal.

It is strictly not recommended for people with asthma to consume liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Liquid nitrogen is added directly before consuming the food or drink, which may also cause breathing difficulty, especially among individuals with asthma. It can even cause severe damage to the skin if handled inappropriately or accidentally consumed due to the extremely low temperatures it can have.

The risks of operating with liquid nitrogen

In addition to the popularity of liquid nitrogen in the ice cream production business, liquid nitrogen has become a common substance in high-class eateries and pubs. Chefs and bartenders use the liquid nitrogen to quickly freeze food and drinks and form a special display of fog as the liquid nitrogen is exposed to air. 

The substance may cause notable damage if it is not properly handled in the kitchen, or if some of the liquid nitrogen disappears into the atmosphere and turns into gas. However, when handled correctly, liquid nitrogen is not a risk.

If the people dealing with liquid nitrogen accidentally get it on their skin while manufacturing ice cream, they will experience severe burns. If some quantity of nitrogen remains in the final product, and consumers eat the ice cream, it can result in serious oesophagal and stomach tissue freezing. 

Even a small quantity of liquid nitrogen, when ingested, will expand considerably inside the body to potentially hazardous levels. This is very painful and highly critical.

Safety precautions for liquid nitrogen

  • Precautionary measures must be taken to avoid close contact with liquid nitrogen. Proper use of PPEs must be ensured. These include safety goggles, non-absorbable cryoprotectant gloves, a lab coat, long pants without cuffs and closed-toe shoes.
  • Keep skin covered to protect the body from direct contact and also from any splashing that might occur during ice cream production. Keep in mind that the vapours are very cold and may cause skin and eye injury.
  • Use proper containers when preparing ice cream. Cold temperatures can damage and shatter glass, ceramic and plastic. Use wooden spoons, metal bowls and wear gloves.
  • All excess liquid in a batch of ice cream must be allowed to evaporate.
  • Do not use liquid nitrogen in a confined area. Nitrogen gas will displace the oxygen and may lead to oxygen loss if used in an inadequately ventilated area. Always handle liquid nitrogen in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do not transfer liquid nitrogen in a vehicle.
  • Always use approved liquid nitrogen flasks. Using enclosed containers not meant for liquid nitrogen can result in over-pressurization and rupture.
  • Do not receive liquid nitrogen from a laboratory.

Other FAQs about Ice cream that you may be interested in.

Can you eat freezer-burned ice cream?

Can dogs eat chocolate ice cream?

What happens if you eat expired ice cream?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat liquid nitrogen ice cream?” with an in-depth analysis of liquid nitrogen, the risks of working with liquid nitrogen and the risks of eating liquid nitrogen ice cream. We have also discussed some ways to handle liquid nitrogen safely.  

References 

https://ehs.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/liquid-nitrogen-ice-cream.pdf

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.