JAKARTA: The Indonesian government has urged local health authorities to monitor food businesses and asked parents to be more vigilant after reports that several children have been injured after consuming some sort of liquid, nitrogen-infused snack.
The snack – known locally as chiki ngebul and often referred to as “dragon’s breath” – is a type of colorful candy coated in a spray of liquid nitrogen.
It has taken social media by storm recently, with kids filming themselves eating the snack. They then exhale the liquid nitrogen mist from their mouths.
The social media platform TikTok has dozens of videos of people consuming the snack. A video of the snack being prepared by a street vendor on the @mistermakan.id TikTok account has been viewed 9.4 million times.
In a January 11 statement, Indonesia’s health ministry highlighted the dangers of consuming the snack. It said consumption of the snack over an extended period of time can lead to serious health problems.
The ministry warned that the overconsumption of the liquid nitrogen-soaked snack could lead to stomach burns, inflammation, cold burns and damage to internal organs.
It added that inhaling the fumes for a long time could also lead to serious breathing difficulties.
On Tuesday (January 17), The Guardian reported that about 25 children have since been affected after consuming the snack, with two hospitalized.
Anas Ma’ruf, the director of the Indonesian Ministry of Health for environmental hygiene, said last Thursday by the Jakarta Post that there have been at least nine confirmed cases of injuries this year after children ate the snack.
“The data we collected (the medical issues that arise after consuming the snack) didn’t show until 2022. We crossed (our data) from 2021, 2020 and 2019 and there were no reports of that,” said Dr Anas .