35 Chinese Restaurants Caught Using Opium to Season Their Food

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In China though, some restaurants have an unorthodox way of keeping customers hooked on their food: opium.

According to a report by the Independent (via Xinhau), the highly addictive narcotic has been found to be used by 35 restaurants across China as seasoning in their food. Huda Restaurant, a popular hot pot restaurant chain in Beijing, was allegedly among those caught using the poppy plant-derived illegal substance.

The China Food and Drug Administration stated that 30 of the restaurants are currently under investigation while five are now being prosecuted over the findings.

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This is not the first time authorities have uncovered Chinese restaurants using narcotics in their food. In 2014, 215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down on such charges.

Poppy powder is said to be readily available to buy in China at $60 per kilogram, according to Xinhau. Detecting the substance is not easy as it is commonly mixed with chili oil and other spices.

Morphine, the most prevalent component of opium, may cause lung edema, respiratory difficulties, coma, or cardiac or respiratory collapse with prolonged use. Regular use can lead to a drug tolerance or physical dependence.

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