A CHINESE street food seller has been arrested after allegedly adding the drug Opium to his dishes.
It is alleged that the man, known only as Li, was using the illegal ingredients to make his food more appetizing and more addictive in order to boost business.
The case only came to light last month after police in city of Lianyungang, China, were tipped off by an anonymous informant that the seller could be spiking his food.
The informant, who was reportedly a regular customer, had watched a number of public safety warning videos about the use of the drug, and wondered if the food stall was doing the same thing.
A sample was soon brought to the authorities for testing, and results showed that it contained high levels of papaverine, narcotine, and other unusual compounds.
It prompted police to conduct a full search of the food stall – seizing a large pot of chili oil that was later found to be laced with poppy-derived substances.
“The seasoning chili oil is laced with poppy shell powder, which makes it taste considerably better,” officer Zhang Kaoshan told reporters.
“The cold noodle dish as a whole tastes more delicious, but this food can be addictive and poses a danger to health over the long term.”
Their findings forced the owner to admit to lacing his chill noodles with the poppy husk powder.
He claimed that he had lost most of his customers during the lockdown, so he thought making his noodles addictive was a way to help his business recover faster.
According to reports, the man had asked spice merchants for the drug – which he later mixed with chili, soybean oil and cold noodles to make his “addictive” concoction.
His food stall’s daily profits soon rose by about a third as the laced chili oil became the staple ingredient.
But the seller is now suspected of producing and selling toxic and harmful food and faces time behind bars.
According to Chinese media, many sellers have been using the drugs in the dishes as businesses’ look to be recover from the covid 19-pandmeic.
Statistics released over the past year suggest there were 155 criminal cases involving the illegal addition of opium poppy to food.
Henan, Guizhou, and Jiangsu were the three top-ranked provinces in terms of number of cases.
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