According to a report by the FDA in Guangzhou Province, which checked 70 restaurants last year, two restaurants in China were caught using marinade sachets containing poppy powder – a derivative of highly addictive opium.
The inspectors carefully examined soup bases, chili sauce, brine, curry sauce, and hot pot base. Testing revealed several substances that could potentially damage the digestive and nervous systems, including trace amounts of codeine, morphine, and noscapine. More specifically, in 2012, inspectors sampled over 400 hot pot soup bases in Jiangsu Province and 10 percent were found to contain traces of poppy seed. Apparently, by adding addictive substances to menu items, restaurateurs hoped to ensure customers came back for seconds.
However, a report from Yangtse Evening News stated that if a restaurant carries less than 100 pounds of poppy seeds, no criminal charges will be filed. That being said, most stores carry about 90 pounds of seeds. For those of you in China dining on hot pots, be wary.
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