New food-safety regulations released by the Ministry of Health went into effect on June 20. The regulations list 64 substances that "may illegally be added to food," such as poppy seed pods and DDVP, as well as 22 "blacklisted" items.
Word of the new regulations quickly spread to Chengdu, where the city's many hotpot restaurants are known for using, among other things, poppy seed pods as a seasoning. The head of the Chengdu Food Association Peng Xiaoping told a Tianfu Morning Post reporter that the use of poppies has been eliminated from all large and medium-sized hot pot restaurants in Chengdu.
But, admitted Peng, it's difficult to regulate the smaller restaurants, so while all hotpot restaurants of a certain size and repute will be closely monitored to ensure that they adhere with the guidelines, smaller restaurants found not in compliance with the regulations will be dealt with accordingly. Until recently, poppy seed pods—which contain a much higher quantity of opiates like morphine than the poppy seed—were frequently used in hotpot.
Peng said the Chengdu Food Association, which advocates "healthful hotpot," is in favor of the ban on poppy seed pods, describing them as "harmful to the human body."
No word on whether you can still get them with your hotpot delivery.
Image from the movie The Opium War