How do poppy seeds affect drug testing?

Can Poppy Seeds Make You Fail a Drug Test?

July 18, 2023

Jason Ferrier

Can eating poppy seeds cause a positive drug test?

Can eating a poppyseed muffin actually make you fail a drug test?  A 1996 episode of the sitcom Seinfeld helped to create widespread awareness of the link between the consumption of poppy seeds and the possibility of testing positive for opiates.  In the episode, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character Elaine tests positive for opium on a workplace drug test due to her predilection for poppy seed muffins.  The incident is played for laughs, but it left many people wondering if this was based on true events.  Almost 30 years later, with the prevalence of workplace and probationary testing, the question persists.  Can a simple baked good impact something as important as a drug test?  The truth may surprise you.

Do Poppy Seeds Contain Opiates?

Poppy seeds come from the Opium Poppy plant.  Poppies are the source of several medications and drugs including opium, codeine, morphine, and heroin.  Although the seeds of the poppy plant do not contain opiates, they are often contaminated with opium residue during the harvesting process.  Poppies are grown in multiple countries around the world.  The region in which the plants are grown as well as the methods through which the seeds are harvested, washed, and processed can affect the amount of opium residue left on the seeds. 

Are there any health risks from eating Poppy Seeds?

Poppy seeds are a common ingredient in a variety of baked goods such as bagels, cakes, muffins, and pastries.  Poppy seeds are also used in teas, seasonings, salad dressings, soups, stews, and health supplements.  For most people, there is little to no health risk from consuming poppy seeds.  In fact, poppy seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, calcium, and magnesium.  Allergic reactions to poppy seeds are rare but do affect some people.  There have been a handful of deaths in the U.S. linked to consumption of tea made from unwashed poppy seeds.  However, the sale of unwashed or unprocessed poppy seeds is illegal in the U.S. and products that are made following proper regulations should pose no risk to consumers.  Despite coming from the same plant used to produce a variety of legal and illicit painkillers, eating poppy seeds isn’t going to get you high.  You’re much more likely to get sick to your stomach from gorging on poppy seed muffins or bagels than feel any of the euphoric effects associated with opium.  Eating too many raw poppy seeds can also cause bowel blockage so that’s best avoided as well.    

Can poppy seeds make you fail a drug test?

Can you test positive for opiates after eating poppy seeds?  The answer, in fact, is yes.  Numerous studies have concluded that a person’s urine or oral fluid can show positive for morphine, codeine, or both up to 48 hours after eating products containing poppy seeds.  Of course, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.  As discussed previously, where the poppy seeds come from and how they are prepared can affect how much opiate they contain.  Opiate concentration is usually higher in raw seeds than in ones that have been cooked.  A person’s weight and metabolism can affect how long various substances remain in their system.  The sensitivity and type of drug test is also a factor.  While both urine and oral fluid can test positive after consuming poppy seeds, there is a higher likelihood of a positive result on a urine test.  There are currently no specific guidelines as to exactly what circumstances will cause someone to test positive.  At present the best recommendation is that people required to submit to drug testing including athletes, service members, medical professionals, and people on probation should just avoid poppy seeds as much as possible.  For those who absolutely can’t resist a poppy seed muffin for breakfast, proceed at your own risk.

Where can I get a drug test for Opiates?

Whatever your reason for needing a drug test, Request A Test has you covered.  We offer testing for pre-employment, probation, work, school, travel, and more.  We’re even here to help if you want to test yourself to make sure those poppy seed bagels you eat every morning won’t get you in trouble later.  We provide testing for urine, hair, oral fluid, and blood that anyone can order.  We offer testing for a variety of individual drugs as well as panels for common drugs of abuse including Opiates, Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, and PCP.  There’s no need to get an order from your doctor.  Just pick the test and choose from one of over 4,000 testing locations across the U.S.  Your personal information and test results are private and confidential.  Ordering is quick and easy and many tests see results in as little as a few business days.  Order today online or call us at 888-732-2348.  Our team is always available during business hours to answer your questions and help you choose the test that best suits your needs.  If you need a drug test, don’t wait.

DISCLAIMER: The medical information in this post is for informative purposes only.

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