Poppycock! 35 Chinese restaurants probed for opium seasoning
Nearly three dozen restaurants were found to be illegally using poppy powder for seasoning.
Five restaurants are being prosecuted and 30 are under investigation for using the active ingredient in drugs such as morphine and heroine.
The China Food and Drug Administration announced the news on Wednesday, detailing the restaurants involved including Huda, a popular chain in Beijing.
A manager at the chain told AP they were under investigation, claiming they unknowingly sourced seasoning containing opiates.
Poppy powder, which is banned as a food additive in China, can be purchased easily in markets in the west of the country.
It contains a higher level of opiate content than poppy seeds commonly used on bagels, which was no consolation to the ‘Seinfeld’ character Elaine.
The powder is thought to be used in soup and seafood.
It is unclear as to whether the level of opiates in poppy powder are sufficient to create a dependency or give a high to a customer.
The newest revelation is the latest high profile problem within the Chinese food industry.
In 2008, the country was involved in a tainted milk scare which left four children dead and a ban on the product in several countries.
A Shanghai-based supplier in 2014 used rotten meat in some of the country’s most popular fast food chains, including McDonald’s.