China busts 35 restaurants for using opium poppies as seasoning

BEIJING - China's Food and Drug Administration says it found opium poppies used as illegal seasoning in 35 restaurants across the country, including a popular Beijing hot pot chain.

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Five restaurants are being prosecuted while 30 others, ranging from Shanghai dumpling joints to noodle shops in southwestern Chongqing, are under investigation.

Cases of cooks sprinkling ground poppy powder, which contains low amounts of opiates like morphine and codeine, in soup and seafood are not new in China, though it is unclear whether they can hook a customer or deliver a noticeable buzz.

Shaanxi Province police busted a noodle seller in 2014 after being tipped off by a failed drug test. Seven restaurants were closed in Ningxia Province in 2012 for using the additive and Guizhou Province shut down 215 restaurants in 2004.



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