Lab Results Are In: Holiday Breads Were Laced With Synthetic Marijuana

The celebration of Three Kings Day is supposed to be fun, not terrifying. Marking the holiday with a cake or sweet bread should not cause dizziness, heart palpitations, and hallucinations among people who are celebrating. Yet that’s what happened to around 40 people who purchased Rosca de Reyes sweet breads from a southern California bakery last month.

You may be familiar with different cultures’ variations on king cakes, which have different ingredients but one thing in common: they conceal a small, non-edible token, and the person who wins that token is king or queen for the day. In the U.S., the holiday is mainly associated with Louisiana, but it’s a tradition in Latin America as well. The bread contains dried fruit and a tiny baby Jesus figurine.

Lab tests performed by the Orange County Register showed that the breads sold in January contained an extra festive ingredient: a synthetic cannabinoid. Specifically, a strain called JWH-122. The lab believes that this contamination isn’t accidental, especially since the substance was found in multiple cakes.

The substance can be sprayed on smokable dried plants: this specific strain is illegal, but the synthetic cannabinoids aren’t hard to find in head shops.

The bakery was closed for much of January for reasons not directly related to the king cake incident. The local health department and police are conducting their own investigations, and haven’t commented publicly on them.

Tests Show Synthetic Drug Contaminated Holiday Bread From CA Bakery [Food Safety News]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.