According to a recently released warning by the Food and Drug Administration, a few items at Walt Disney World may not be entirely safe for consumption. The warning applies to food prepared with liquid nitrogen at the point of sale.
Before we jump into the specific items at Disney that fall under this warning, lets take a look at the advisory itself (full advisory). The advisory points to “food products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, immediately before consumption”. The advisory warns about both the ingestion of the food product itself, as well as the vapors released by the liquid nitrogen during the food preparation process.
Specifically, the FDA points to the danger of extremely low temperatures coming in contact with skin or internal organs, “Liquid nitrogen, although non-toxic, can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidently ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain”.
The FDA has become aware of severe — and in some cases, life-threatening — injuries, such as damage to skin and internal organs caused by liquid nitrogen still present in the food or drink. There has also been a report of difficulty breathing after inhaling the vapor released by liquid nitrogen when added immediately before consumption. Injuries have occurred from handling or eating products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption, even after the liquid nitrogen has fully evaporated due to the extremely low temperature of the food.
So, what food items does this advisory cover at Disney? Turns out that a couple of dessert parties and even a Food and Wine Festival booth have items that consumers might want to think twice about before ingesting.
The Chocolate Studio is a popular location for guests attending the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival thanks to the “Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle”. It’s a chocolatey offering that is prepared in liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, right when you order it. The chocolate is hand scooped and lowered into the liquid nitrogen for less than a minute before it’s removed and cracked open with a hammer. A bit of warm whiskey-caramel is drizzled on top and it’s in your hands a few seconds later.
Here’s a video of the process.
The preparation definitely seems to fall under the “point of sale” definition warned about by the FDA, and you can even see portions of our treat were still crystalized.
In addition to the Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle, there is another liquid nitrogen dessert found in the Frozen Dessert Party at Epcot. The Nitro Popcorn served at the dessert party is a caramel popcorn that has been dumped into liquid nitrogen. Again, this is prepared at the point of sale and scooped out of the liquid nitrogen and placed into a cone to be handed over to the guests just seconds after they order it. Officially, it is named the Freeze Fried Salted Caramel Popcorn and it is on the menu on Disney’s website has of publish time.
Here’s a video of the treat being prepared and served.
The Frozen Dessert Party isn’t the only spot you can find liquid nitrogen being used on a daily basis though, as the Star Wars Dessert Party also features a nutella-based dessert that is dropped into liquid nitrogen before being served directly to guests. Officially, this dessert is referenced as the freeze-fried chocolate hazelnut mousse on Disney’s official website as of publish time.
Here’s a photo of the Star Wars Dessert Party setup from easywdw.com.
As of this writing, Disney has yet to release any warnings to guests about the desserts. We’ve reached out to Disney for comment and will add it to the article should they choose to respond.