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Restaurants

35 restaurants in China found adding opium poppies to their food

hudarestaurant_ap.jpg

Beijing’s Huda restaurant chain, known for its famous crabs, is under investigation. (AP)

They were serving double happiness.

Nearly three dozen restaurants in China have been discovered sprinkling powdered opium poppies on their dishes.

According to the China Daily, police are carrying out criminal investigations into 25 of the owners of establishments—some known for long lines around the block-- while the China Food and Drug Administration handles the other 10.  According to a news release, the restaurants include noodle shops, a restaurant specializing in soup dumplings, a sake snack bar, a fried chicken shop, and dozens of others.

One notable establishment on the list is Beijing's Huda Restaurant, famous for its spicy crayfish that often attracts large crowds and long wait times.

It’s unclear whether powdered opium poppies can really get a customer addicted or deliver a noticeable buzz, but China has had a law in place since 2013 making it illegal to add it to food.  Yet, cases of cooks sprinkling ground poppy powder, which contains low amounts of opiates such as morphine and codeine, in dishes are not new in China.

In 2014, China made headlines over food safety concerns after a Shanghai-based supplier to companies including KFC, Starbucks and McDonald’s was found selling unsanitary and expired chicken meat.