Travelers Trip Up with Common Ethnic Foods in UAE

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) bans poppy seeds and betel nuts - two foodstuffs popular in India, reports India West. India West received a message from a reader saying a friend en route to the United Kingdom via Dubai had been imprisoned after a small amount of poppy seeds were found in his luggage. The UAE Embassy referred India West to its list of controlled substances. “Be careful of carrying in poppy seeds which are banned, so avoid accidentally carrying bakery products that might contain such seeds,” reads the document. Poppy seed or khas khas is also used to make desserts in India including the festive khas khas jo seero which combines poppy seeds with cardamom, dried fruits and milk. Betel nut is used in paan masala which is commonly sold on street corners in India as a breath freshener. The jail terms for possessing controlled substances in the UAE can extend up to 15 years.