Opinion / From the Press

Where are poppy shells from?

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-05 08:15

Restaurants and food retailers illegally transporting, selling and using poppy shells should be punished according to the law, and the authorities should conduct a thorough probe to find out where these poppy shells are coming from, says an article on xinhuanet. Excerpts:

Some reports say that in many regions of the country, including Shaanxi province, some hotpot restaurants and snack bars add poppy shells to the food to attract customers.

Poppy is the raw material of opium, and poppy shells contain more than 30 types of alkaloid, including morphine and codeine. Long-term use of poppy shells can turn people into addicts and damage their nervous system. Chinese law clearly says that poppy shells are inedible and adding them to food is strictly prohibited.

Apparently the poppy shells that food retailers and restaurants buy come from wholesale spice markets or the Internet. But where do spice wholesalers and online retailers get the poppy shells from? Cultivation of poppy is banned in China. Chinese criminal law clearly states that people illegally cultivating poppy, cannabis and other alkaloid plants can be jailed for up to 5 years. So, the authorities should launch a thorough investigation to find out what or where is the source of the poppy shells. After all, the huge amount of poppy shells in the market indicates the possibility of illegal poppy cultivation.

The poppy shell issue has exposed a loophole in the supervision system over cultivation of poppies. And the authorities should take immediate measures to punish the transporters, food retailers and restaurants for transporting, selling and using poppy shells.

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