Five Hospitalized After Consuming Dry Ice Mistaken for Mouth Freshener at Gurgaon Restaurant

Five patrons of a restaurant in Gurgaon endured mouth burns and vomiting, necessitating hospitalization, after inadvertently ingesting dry ice served as mouth freshener by mistake. The incident occurred at Laforestta Cafe in Sector 90, where a waitress erroneously presented translucent granules, thinking they were mouth fresheners, to commemorate a birthday celebration.

Dry ice, commonly employed for theatrical effects in dining establishments and bars, is solidified carbon dioxide that poses health hazards when consumed, as it transitions into a gaseous state.

Last Saturday, three couples, Ankit Kumar with his wife Neha, Manika Goenka with his wife Pritika Rastogi, and Deepak Arora with his wife Himani, gathered at the cafe to observe Manika’s birthday. Following their meal, the waitress provided the group with what they presumed to be mouth fresheners. However, upon ingestion, the granules caused severe tongue and palate burns, prompting three of the individuals to be admitted to Aarvy Hospital.

Ankit Kumar, the complainant, recounted the distressing experience, stating that as the group consumed the granules, they immediately experienced a burning sensation, leading to vomiting and bleeding. Despite seeking aid from the restaurant staff, assistance was not forthcoming until police intervention, approximately 40 minutes later.

A subsequent investigation revealed that the waitress had inadvertently confused the dry ice pouch for mouth fresheners. Inspector Manoj stated, “We have seized the samples of dry ice and sent them for forensic analysis to ascertain why the restaurant had dry ice and how the waitress mistook it for a mouth refreshment item.”

The incident resulted in the filing of an FIR against the waitress under IPC sections 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). Laforestta Café manager Gagan acknowledged the error, attributing it to a mistake by the waitress and emphasizing the restaurant’s cooperation with authorities.

Dry ice, while commonly utilized for visual appeal and food preservation, poses substantial risks if ingested, potentially causing burns to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Restaurants and bars often use dry ice separately for specific dishes, primarily for dramatic effects and cooling purposes.