The government of Haryana on Friday banned the mixing of liquid nitrogen in drinks and food items after the shocking Gurgaon pub incident in which a 30-year-old Delhi man ended up in a hospital with a huge hole in his stomach after drinking a cocktail containing the chemical.
The chemical was banned under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (Central Act 34 of 2006).
“Any drink or food whose preparation involves the flushing or mixing of liquid nitrogen is harmful to people,” said Dr Saket Kumar, Commissioner (Food Safety) in Haryana’s Food and Drugs Administration Department.
“Due to its low temperature, liquid nitrogen could be extremely damaging to body tissue, causing frostbite and cryogenic burning on contact. Moreover, if ingested, it could lead to severe internal damage, destroying tissue in the mouth and intestinal tract,” he added.
Earlier this month, A Delhi businessman who went to a pub in Gurgaon was faced with a hole in his stomach and landed up in the hospital. The cocktail he was served with was laced with liquid nitrogen, used to turbo-freeze food and drinks for an attractive look, left him in a serious life-threatening situation.
The Haryana government has prohibited the mixing or flushing of liquid nitrogen with any drink or food item in view of the interest of the health of people in the state, a statement issued by government said.
Expert medical opinion says that any food article or drink which involves the flushing or mixing of liquid nitrogen is harmful for humans, he said. Liquid nitrogen could be extremely damaging for body tissue causing frostbite and cryogenic burning on contact due to its low temperature, he added.
“If swallowed, the gas can lead to serious internal damage, destroying tissues in the mouth and intestinal area. Also, as it evaporates, liquid nitrogen releases a high volume of gas, which can tear open the stomach if swallowed in adequately large quantities,” the order further said.
The Delhi man underwent a surgery at Columbia Asia hospital in Palam Vihar after a big hole was found in his stomach because he had consumed liquid nitrogen.
The liquid nitrogen mixed in his drink had a boiling point of -195.8°C and is used to instantly freeze food and drinks. The incident was reported on July 3.
Mrintunajay Tiwari, principal consultant, Blue Fish Concept hospitality said, “Staff at restaurants/bars serving nitrogen-based drinks and food had to undergo seven weeks training during which they were told to be very attentive while the drinks are served. The incident was unfortunate.”