Indian diners suffer burns after dry ice given as mouth freshener in Gurgaon

Five customers were taken to hospital after consuming the substance at a restaurant

Five customers burnt their mouths and suffered internal injuries after being given dry ice as mouth fresheners at a restaurant in Gurgaon, India. Photo: X/ @rose_k01
Powered by automated translation

A group of customers suffered mouth burns and bleeding at a restaurant in India after consuming dry ice they believed was a post-meal mouth freshener.

Three couples were offered a mouth freshener by the restaurant staff in Gurgaon, a satellite city outside the capital Delhi. Shortly after consuming it, they started to suffer from pain and burns. Several also started to bring up blood.

The customers called the police who took them to a hospital.

“After dinner, we were about to leave when the waitress offered translucent granules in a bowl and told us those were mouth fresheners,” said Ankit Kumar, a customer who did not take one as he was caring for his child.

“They tried spitting it out and attempted to wash it with water. They vomited and started bleeding. They were writhing in pain, seeking help. I called the restaurant staff, but no one helped us,” Mr Kumar told the Times of India.

A police investigation found that the substance offered to the customers was dry ice, a solidified form of carbon dioxide that is used as a cooling agent for food products including ice cream.

Restaurants use dry ice while serving to keep some dishes cool or to use the vapour it emits for dramatic effect.

If consumed, dry ice can burn the mouth and oesophagus. In extreme cases, it can rupture the stomach and be fatal.

Police have charged a waitress with criminal conspiracy and causing damage by poisoning.

“We came to know that the waitress, by mistake, picked up the pouch containing dry ice instead of mouth fresheners, and offered it to the victims. We have seized the samples of dry ice and sent them for forensic analysis,” Inspector Manoj Kumar said.

“We will find out why the restaurant has kept dry ice and how the waitress mistook it for a mouth refreshment item."

Updated: March 05, 2024, 10:06 AM