Several children were reportedly injured after swallowing a snack containing liquid nitrogen, prompting the Indonesian government to encourage local health officials to monitor food facilities and to advise parents to be more attentive.
The snack, sometimes known as “dragon’s breath” and known locally as chiki ngebul, is a form of colorful candy covered with liquid nitrogen mist.
Recently, youngsters have taken social media by storm by posting videos of themselves consuming the food. They then exhale the mist of liquid nitrogen via their lips.
On the popular media app TikTok, dozens of videos depict individuals eating the food. One video on @mistermakan.id depicting the street seller preparing the food 9.4 million times have been seen the TikTok account.
The Indonesian Ministry of Health issued a statement on January 11 highlighting the hazards of ingesting the snack. It was stated that prolonged eating of the snack might result in major health problems.
The ministry cautioned that excessive intake of the snack containing liquid nitrogen might cause stomach burns, inflammation, cold burns, and internal organ damage.
Inhaling the gases over an extended length of time may also cause significant respiratory issues, according to the report.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday, January 17th, that about 25 youngsters had been hospitalized after devouring the snack.
The head of environmental health for the Indonesian health ministry, Anas Ma’ruf, was reported by the Jakarta Post last Thursday as claiming that at least nine documented cases of injury had occurred this year after youngsters eaten the snack.
“According to the data we’ve obtained, (the medical difficulties resulting from having the snack) have only occurred since 2022. We cross-referenced (our data) from 2021, 2020, and 2019 and could not find any occurrences,” explained Dr. Anas.
According to the Jakarta Post, the nation’s first recorded medical incidence involving the snack was reported in the Ponorogo region of East Java in July of last year. After consuming the snack, the child’s skin experienced cold burns.
The health ministry issued a circular earlier this month urging regional administrations and local health organizations to monitor food products that contain liquid nitrogen. The product was not, however, explicitly prohibited.
According to the circular, eateries must inform their patrons if their dish contains liquid nitrogen. Those who serve food products containing the chemical must also be placed under the monitoring of local health authority.
The health ministry has also encouraged schools to educate pupils on the hazards of the snack, while street food sellers are discouraged from selling it.