Beef Noodles

Although I know what it’s like to get a hankering for a takeaway at the weekend (especially Chinese food) I wouldn’t exactly say I was addicted. The same can’t be said for customers of a restaurant in China where the owner had been lacing his noodles with opiates to keep them from coming back.

He claims to have used the “special powder”, purchased from a local market, to improve flavour and help his business.

He wasn’t caught until a happy customer of his, Liu Juyou, was pulled over by police during random traffic checks. He was acting strangely and when tested it turned out he was under the influence of opium. At first the police didn’t believe his protests of innocence and he was locked away for 15 days but as the South China Morning Post puts it:

Liu asked his family to help him test the theory, eating noodles at the restaurant and going home to take urine tests. When the relatives also tested positive for drugs, they alerted the police, who launched an investigation.

An anti-narcotics police agent said that chemicals from poppy, even poppy seedpods, could build up in the body – enough to get a positive for opiates on a drug test.

The story does have a happy ending as Liu was released and is back to eating noodles again but this time opiate free. The shop owner seems to have got away with a warning and ten days detention as poppy seedpods were used in traditional cooking before they were banned.

The original report can be found in the Xi’an Evening News