The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned bartenders and the public against the excessive use of dry ice in the preparation of cocktails as it can be detrimental to their health if not handled carefully.
The use of dry ice in cocktails has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it adds a unique and impressive visual effect to many cocktails because of the dramatic “smoking” effect it creates.
In a health note issued by the Authority and copied to the Ghana News Agency, Delese Mimi Darko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA explained that when dry ice is added to drinks, it sublimates.
It is extremely cold, with a temperature of around -78.5°C, and colder than regular ice, therefore, making it a good option for chilling drinks quickly.
“Use only small amounts of dry ice in cocktails, as a little goes a long way when it comes to creating the smoking effect,” Mrs Darko said, adding that using too much dry ice could cause an excessive amount of carbon dioxide gas inhalation.
According to the FDA, dry ice, which is a solid form of carbon dioxide is not toxic but could pose some respiratory challenges to consumers and cause burns when it comes into contact with the skin.
This makes it move directly from the solid state to the gaseous state, releasing carbon dioxide gas, which could displace oxygen in the air and create a hazardous environment, particularly in small or enclosed spaces.
The Authority, which is responsible for regulating food and medicine in Ghana, asked bartenders and the public to ensure that they always wear gloves and use tongs and other appropriate tools to handle the dry ice.
It also advised against the swallowing of dry ice by customers and recommended that dry ice is kept in a well-ventilated, cool, and dry area, with seals not kept in airtight containers or rooms.
To ensure that consumers were aware of the possible hazards and handled the beverages carefully, she urged that drinks that include dry ice be appropriately branded by noting with warning signs on the menu or by personally alerting customers when they order the drink.
The FDA CEO also encouraged bartenders to educate themselves and other workers on how to handle dry ice properly, including wearing gloves and using tongs.