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21 Mar 2019, Edition - 1346, Thursday

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Coimbatore

‘Dangerous’ liquid nitrogen used as coolants for dishes and drinks in Covai hotels

Covai Post Network

A man who drank cocktail containing liquid nitrogen in Delhi had to get some of his stomach parts removed surgically.

According to reports, he drank the cocktail without taking necessary precautions, and the gas released by liquid nitrogen had no exit leading to a gaping hole in the stomach, doctors said.

A bartender at a luxury hotel lounge bar here said these cocktails called `flame shots’ and usually served in night clubs and pubs. “These shots are supposed to be had only after the smoke evaporates, but many do not follow these precautions,” he added. Often, drinking these shots without the gas evaporating, leads to mouth burns.

Executive Chef at French Door restaurant S Shreya said cooking with liquid nitrogen is equally risky. “Using liquid nitrogen for cooking is an innovative method and comes under molecular gastronomy. Only properly trained staff should handle this,” she told The Covai Post.

“Liquid nitrogen is used as a coolant in cooking. The boiling point is minus196 degrees Celsius, while that of oil is 250 degree celsius. It is often used to get a chillness or to get a freezing effect to our dish. We wear gloves while handling the liquid nitrogen jar, and even dropping hands into it is risky,” she added.

Desserts, ice creams and drinks are primarily where liquid nitrogen is used though no element of the liquid remains in the food material. As it is a coolant, it evaporates immediately leaving a freezing effect to the dish.

Shreya added that they did not serve liquid nitrogen-based dishes to kids below eight years.

Food Safety Officer Dr OLS Vijay said the authorities had not come across such an issue before.

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