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Haryana bans use of liquid nitrogen in F&B, restros say use should be regulated instead


A Delhi resident was recently left with a hole in his stomach after he consumed a drink made with liquid nitrogen in a Gurgaon pub. The incident sparked a debate in the F&B industry on the indiscriminate use of liquid nitrogen to make desserts and drinks look interesting. Now, in order to prevent any further incidents, the Food and Drug Administration, Haryana, has prohibited its use in any drink or food in Haryana, and an order was issued by Saket Kumar, commissioner (Food Safety), FDA, Haryana.

Narinder Ahooja, State Drug Controller (SDC), Haryana, said, “After thorough research, we found out that liquid nitrogen can have deadly consequences. The prohibitory orders have already been issued under Section 34 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Liquid nitrogen can also cause frost bite, leading to instant death. We consulted several experts on this issue, a study was conducted, and several places were raided and samples were collected.” Senior Drugs Control Officer (SDCO), Gurugram, Padam Singh Rathee also confirmed the move. According to sources, the ban was anticipated by the industry.

Instead of banning, the use of liquid nitrogen should be regulated: Restaurateur
Riyaaz Amlani, president, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), says, “We agree that the health and safety of our guests is of paramount importance, but banning is not the solution. Its use can be regulated and there should be a rule that liquid nitrogen should not come in direct contact with diners.”

Zorawar Kalra, who owns restaurants in Delhi and Gurgaon, adds, “Banning liquid nitrogen is a strong move, when its use could have been controlled. I understand that government is trying to be safe, but it is like banning cooking if someone got burnt. Instead, emphasis should be on staff training and awareness among guests, and it should be ensured that the use of liquid nitrogen is not just a marketing gimmick by restaurants.”

Fascination with the ‘dhuandhaar experience’ can be hazardous: Mixologists
Mixologist Anthony Phillip, who has worked as a consultant with many restaurants in the city, agrees that the use of liquid nitrogen just to add drama was becoming a fad, without any proper training or knowledge about it. “Neither the consumers knows how to consume it, nor the staff in most places knows how to serve it right. So, till the time that there is awareness and education, it makes sense to ban its use.”

Gurjit Singh Barry, a beverage expert who has been training bartenders in the city for last 15 years, says, “The ‘dhuandhaar’ tricks are a great crowd-puller. But is it safe? Is the liquid nitrogen food-grade? Is the bartender trained to use the right quantity? Has the guest been told to to wait till the cloud disperses before drinking it? Its use was turned into a fad by restaurants, who risked the health of guests to play with the presentation. It should not have been used without proper training and regulations in the first place. After the incident, most restaurants have stopped the use of liquid nitrogen.”
Talking about the health hazards of liquid nitrogen, Gurjit adds, “Liquid nitrogen is simply nitrogen gas which has been cooled to such a temperature that it turns liquid. It can cause frost bite, severe pain, inability to breathe. A teaspoon of liquid nitrogen can cause the food pipe and the stomach to freeze and become brittle like glass. Diners should be advised to let the cloud of vapour disappear before the food and drinks laced with liquid nitrogen are consumed, but that’s often not done.”

Source: Times of India

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