Instagram brought goth food up, but now NYC is bringing them down—or, at least, the Department of Health is trying to.
It turns out those highly Instagrammable, pitch-black "goth" foods were far edgier than we could have ever imagined. According to a new report in Eater, the Department of Health says that activated charcoal is currently banned from all food- and drink-serving establishments in NYC. A spokesperson for DOH told Eater that the rule isn't new, but enforcement has increased.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, that NYC ice cream shop that caused a mini frenzy in 2016 over their popular jet-black ice cream, reportedly had to dump "$3,000 worth of product during a routine inspection," per owner Nick Morgenstern.
The ice cream shop posted a cryptic Instagram in late May that hinted something was afoot. The ice cream, which they've been making since 2015, uses coconut ash—a form of activated charcoal.
“I don’t see any evidence that this is actually a question of public health safety,” Morganstern told Eater. “I would challenge someone to identify the public health safety risk of that ingredient.”
The owner of the LES coffee shop Round K, Ockhyeon Byeon, also told Eater that their activated charcoal lattes had been under inspection in May, too, and the Department of Health told them to take it off the menu. Their reasoning? "It's prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive or food coloring agent," they said in a statement.
But how are we supposed to eat foods as black as our hearts now? In 2017, matte black lattes took the city by storm, and activated charcoal still pops up on just about every hippie-inflected menu in the city, with charcoal lemonades, bowls, smoothies, and more bringing vital business from people doing it for the 'gram.
As it's not yet clear to us what, exactly, the health risk of the ingredient is, we'll still be whipping up these pitch-black cocktails in the privacy of our own homes.