Girl Develops Hole In Stomach After Eating Smoky Paan. Doctor Explains Why

The girl was diagnosed with a condition called perforation peritonitis - a hole in the stomach.

Liquid nitrogen is being used to create frozen desserts or produce vapour clouds. (Representational)


A 12-year-old girl developed a hole in her stomach after eating a 'smoky paan' infused with liquid nitrogen at a wedding event in Bengaluru recently. The girl was rushed to a hospital after she complained of severe stomach pain and bloating.

"When we examined her, we saw that there was a tear in her stomach and it was filled with gas," the doctor who operated on her told NDTV.

The girl was diagnosed with a condition called perforation peritonitis - a hole in the stomach.

"This could have posed a threat to her life. So, we immediately decided to operate on her," said Dr Vijay HS of Narayan Health Bengaluru.

The doctor surgically removed the part of the stomach with the hole. The girl was in the ICU for three days.

Use Of Liquid Nitrogen In Food

Liquid nitrogen is nowadays being used in a novel food trend to create frozen desserts or produce vapour clouds when food items dipped in liquid nitrogen are exposed to air.

"Children get attracted to liquid nitrogen because in normal temperatures it emits smoke. They see it and they think about social media reels," said Dr Vijay.

Liquid nitrogen is a liquid that has a very low boiling point of -196 degrees Celsius and is present as a gas at room temperature. It has long been used to freeze and reduce microbial growth during manufacturing processes in the food industry.

Harmful Effects Of Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid or low-temperature gas produces effects on the skin similar to a burn. The extremely low temperature of the liquid can cause severe frostbite or eye damage upon contact. Inhalation or ingestion
of the gas could also cause asphyxiation and airway or gastric perforations due to the extreme cold.

"Liquid nitrogen has a temperature between -190 to -200 degrees Celsius. So, if you touch something like that, you will experience a burning sensation. We call that cold burn. Even if you consume 2 ml or 2 mg of it, it can release 1.5-litre gas," the doctor said.

Action On Liquid Nitrogen

Some state governments advise against the use of liquid Nitrogen but "the rules are not very strict," said Dr Vijay.

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday warned food business operators against using liquid nitrogen for direct consumption along with food items like biscuits, ice creams, wafer biscuits etc., and said liquid nitrogen should be fully evaporated from the food or drinks before being served.

"The liquid nitrogen (INS 941) is permitted only as a processing aid, as contact freezing and colouring agents (substances that can cause rapid freezing on contact with food) as per Appendix C-S.No.9 under processing Categories in the product category dairy-based desserts – Ice Cream," a government release said.

There is no such ban or advisory in Karnataka.