China's Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) issued a notice last Saturday ordering an immediate ban of a popular beverage "Happy Water" from the brand Shine Bee, after discovering the drink contains a first class psychoactive drug.
The bottled beverage, also known as Kawa chaoyin in Chinese, was made from a plant called Kava from South Pacific island countries and appeared on the market in 2015, China Daily reports. The drink gained popularity after a Chinese travel TV program made a trip to the South Pacific and used the plant to produce "the happiest beverage ever".
Though a non-alcoholic beverage, Shine Bee's Happy Water was sold mainly in bars, nightclubs and karaoke bars. Youngsters claimed consuming the drink could "keep people high for three days similar to narcotic drugs like Ketamine," Beijing Youth Daily quoted comments from social media sites.
Shine Bee's distributor Sichuan Shizang Industrial Management Company claimed on the bottles that the drink has functional properties because it contained the beneficial ingredient of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
However, detailed inspection by food safety authorities showed that the beverage contained a different ingredient with similar name – gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a first class psychoactive drug.
Abuse of GHB can lead to temporary memory loss, nausea, vomit and headache. In extreme cases, the psychoactive drug may cause drug users' life, CCTV reports. In many countries, the drug is either banned or controlled only for medical purposes.
Last month, police detained seven suspects on suspicion of producing Shine Bee drink in Foshan, South China's Guangdong Province, where the drink was produced. However, packs of the beverage were still sold via online shopping platforms.
The latest notice by the Food and Drug Administration made it clear that the beverage should be removed from the shelf, recalled and banned from production as soon as possible. It also urged online e-commerce platforms to stop selling the illegal drink.