DRY ICE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     5th March 2024        

Context: Recently, dry ice, which was mistakenly offered to a party of diners at a Gurugram restaurant, subsequently caused them to vomit blood.

Dry Ice

  • About: It is a lethal substance, according to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Avoid Direct Contact: Dry ice must never be touched, even with bare hands, as it can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if ingested or touched.
  • Purpose and Common Usage: Dry ice, solid carbon dioxide, serves as a cooling agent for food products like ice cream and frozen desserts, eliminating the need for mechanical cooling.
  • Handling Caution: Improper handling of dry ice can lead to health risks as it sublimes into large quantities of carbon dioxide gas, potentially causing breathlessness (hypercapnia).
  • Ventilation Requirements: Dry ice should only be used in well-ventilated environments to prevent the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas and subsequent health risks.
  • Storage and Transport Safety: It should never be stored or transported in closed environments to prevent the risk of breathlessness due to carbon dioxide gas emission.
  • Awareness Campaigns: FSSAI urges authorities to conduct awareness campaigns for food business operators and citizens regarding the safe handling of dry ice as a cooling agent.
  • Regulatory Interpretation: In 2018, FSSAI issued a Food Code interpretation regarding the use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice in the preparation or service of food in retail and food service establishments.
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