BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Several health agencies from China have discovered that several restaurants are spicing their food up with opium. The chow joints raided in China for using hot pot as spice were closed down and the owners might face criminal charges for using dangerous substances.
The Chinese authorities have discovered that several local food chains were using poppy seeds in order to spice up their dishes. During a raid conducted by several members from China’s Food and Drug regulator, approximately 35 diners were closed. Moreover, approximately 25 diner owners were transferred, while ten other were placed under arrest pending the investigation.
According to the Chinese Government, those found guilty of using or consuming dangerous substances such as opium can receive a high fine or could even end up in jail.
After testing the food from the 35 restaurants, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration found out that is contained morphine, papaverine, codeine, noscapine and thebaine, all compounds being produced by using poppy seeds.
Opium is a natural dry latex which can be extracted from poppy seeds. The substance can be transformed into alkaloid morphine, a painkiller used to treat patients who have sustained heavy injuries.
Moreover, opium can also be employed in order to produce heroin and other opioid-based drugs. In terms of medical uses, apart from using it as a painkiller, the substance can also act up as a sedative of sleeping pill.
The chow joints raided in China for using hot pot as spice might have bought them from several drugs dealer which were recently arrested. According to the Chinese health authorities, diners and citizens can acquire the powder-like substance from basically anywhere, and a fair price. Estimates have placed the price of poppy seeds at £42 for one kilogram.
Furthermore, according to China’s Food and Drug Administration, these raids have been conducted on a regular basis since 2004. The investigators involved said that it is very difficult to retrace the drugs after they’ve been mixed up with oils or other types of herbs. Special equipment must be employed in order to detect if certain spices contain poppy seeds.
Since 2004, China has managed to identify and close down approximately 222 restaurants. In each case, the investigators working for the Food and Drugs Department have found traces of poppy seeds in the spices used to prepare certain dishes.
Most of the restaurants closed down since 2004 were from the Ningxia and Guizhou regions. It would seem that China has adopted a zero tolerance policy towards these transgressions.