35 Chinese restaurants shut down after getting busted seasoning food with opium

Thirty-five restaurants in China have been shut down after it was discovered that they seasoned their food with opium, apparently in an effort to ensure repeat customers.

Five restaurants are currently being prosecuted, while the other 30 will be investigated by the China Food and Drug Administration. Several of the 35 restaurants are a part of a popular Bejing hot pot chain.

In the last few years, many restaurants in China have been caught using opium in their food. Chefs used opium in attempt to “hook” their customers on the food by using the highly addictive drug. The China FDA currently investigating how the drug was introduced to the food in this case.

Opium has been found in restaurants across China. In 2004, 215 restaurants were shut down after facing similar charges. Last year, a noodle seller was caught deliberately lacing meals with opium.

Opium is hard to detect in food because chefs often mask it with chile powders and oils. A packet of opium poppy powder can be bought for approximately $60 USD. In powder form, the drug can easily be mixed in with seasonings.

Featured image via Flickr

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