A restaurant owner was sentenced to 10 months in prison and fined 5,000 yuan by Minhang District People’s Court after it was discovered that he was using poppy seeds in soups and sauces served to customers, samples of which were found to contain morphine and papaverine.
Zhou Huaming, who owns the Longbai Chending Chicken restaurant in Minhang, also had his business license revoked and was banned from operating food-related businesses for five years, according to Shanghai Daily.
A raid on the restaurant last year led to the seizure of 83 kilograms of “tainted” food, and samples of the soups and sauces contained morphine and papaverine, a vasodilator, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said. Zhou was reportedly using poppy seeds, a banned ingredient in China, from April to July 2013.
Previously, we reported that two restaurants in Guangzhou were being investigated for using addictive poppy seed powder, a substance from which opium and heroin are derived, to make food more aromatic and mouth-wateringly delicious.
While normal poppy seed consumption is usually regarded as safe, the seeds can contain morphine and other opiate alkaloids due to contamination during harvesting, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Morphine content is generally reduced up to 90 percent during food processing.
Eh, still beats pond water.
[Image Credit: melaniedornier.photoshelter.com]