Getting Burned from a Frozen Treat

In shopping malls across the United States kiosks are popping up selling this new chilled treat…and consumers are getting injured from it. Recently a South Carolina man reportedly suffered a laceration in his mouth upon consuming this trendy frozen desert. Now he’s suing.

The sign reads …

“Dragon Breath is a fun dessert cereal snack that tastes like fruit loops dipped in liquid nitrogen, when you eat it you will smoke like a dragon.”

 While shopping at the Haywood Mall in Greenville SC on April 29, 2018, the victim decided to try the new “Dragon’s Breath” a type of dessert made from cereal dipped in liquid nitrogen. When this subzero concoction is ingested it produces vapors out of the nose and mouth of the consumer resembling the effect a fire breathing dragon might give off.

Well, when the gentlemen ate the frozen treat he immediately experienced “sudden and intense pain” in his mouth. The liquid nitrogen infused treat caused an ulcer to form and rupture into his cheek causing his mouth to fill with blood.

After seeking medical attention, the victim was informed his injury was caused by the liquid nitrogen in the Dragon’s Breath product he consumed. His lawsuit seeks damages from physical pain, weight loss and mental anguish.

This South Carolina man is just one of many victims. Two Florida children visiting a Tennessee mall were reportedly treated for injuries after they ate liquid nitrogen treats under the Dragon’s Breath brand. And a 14-year-old girl attending a fair in Florida reportedly burned her thumb after handling a product that contained liquid nitrogen from a vendor using the Dragon’s Breath name.

The problem with these trendy products is consumer safety is overlooked. Rarely are consumers warned of the potential dangers of the food, how it’s made, how it’s presented or packaged or the proper method of consuming such a product.

Sadly, the US Food and Drug Administration regulatory language is somewhat ambiguous in the wording of the use of nitrogen in food preparation saying, “direct food substances affirmed as generally recognized as safe” and goes on to say the chemical “is used in food at levels not to exceed current manufacturing practice.”

Liquid nitrogen can reach temperatures as cold as -320F. And although the medical community, especially dermatologists, have used liquid nitrogen to treat skin conditions, they are trained on the use and the destructive power it can have on tissue.

Dr. Reed Caldwall, assistant professor at Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Health has reportedly explained that liquid nitrogen could cause asphyxiation if inhaled since the substance displaces oxygen. He went on to say, “I would urge caution for anybody around liquid nitrogen, particularly children.”

Instructions on some Dragon’s Breath kiosk signs…

  • Grab it from cup holder
  • Use bamboo sticks to eat
  • Blow 3 times or more
  • Chew it & crush it
  • Do not touch or drink the liquid in the bottom of the cup.

Do you think this instructional wording is clear as to give adequate warning about the dangers of the product?

These types of cases fall under what’s called “Product Injury Liability” and involve the legal theories of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the deceptive trade practice laws.

From a consumer standpoint, these cases generally concern whether appropriate warnings were given to users or consumers of products. Also involved are issues with placement of warnings, appropriate content for operating equipment manuals, appropriate design requirements, necessity for inspection or testing, compliance with statutes and regulations, and determination of recall or retrofit advisability.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a harmful product and it happened in Indiana, pick up the phone and call us at +1 (219) 736-9700 today.

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