These foods can make you test positive for drugs
There’s nothing worse than when your dog actually did eat your homework, but you’re still not believed.
Unless of course you’ve tested positive for opiates and your alibi is that you ate some bread rolls.
This is the claim of a 58-year-old pipe fitter, suspended from work for 11 weeks after testing positive for morphine – an extract from the opium produced by poppies.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the father of two, who wishes to remain anonymous, insists the test reading was the result of him eating poppy seed bread and buns the day before the test.
After receiving the positive results, the Liverpudlian paid £120 for a private hair-follicle test, which came back negative, and obtained a letter from his GP stating he had never been on any prescribed medication, such as morphine or painkillers – which contain opium.
“I am a married dad and have two grown-up children. I have never taken drugs,” said the Liverpool man.
“I thought to myself ‘I have something in my body that I have no idea where it has come from’ – it was very worrying.”
The pipe fitter’s online research led him to an experiment on BBC One’s Rip Off Britain: Food, which aired in May. Over three days, 72-year-old presenter Angela Ripon ate a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel to see if a drug test would pick up opiates. The results showed the presence of morphine.
The construction worker added, “I knew straight away that it had to be the poppy seeds I had eaten and I actually thought ‘Great that explains it.’”
His company have since taken him back, although the contractor that he failed the test for has refused to accept his return to work.
So, can eating poppy seeds really lead you to fail a drug test?
“If you eat a poppy seed roll, it could give rise to a positive result on a urine drug test for morphine,” says Atholl Johnston, Professor of Pharmacology at Queen Mary University.
While the morphine content of poppy seeds can vary by a factor of nearly 600, drug tests are highly sensitive, and could return a positive result even after a relatively small number of the seeds.
However, Professor Johnston makes it clear that eating poppy seeds will not get you high any time soon.
“It is unlikely that a single poppy seed roll, or even a dozen rolls, would result in an individual ingesting enough morphine to have a pharmacological effect.”
Nevertheless, it’s advisable to wait up to three days after eating poppy seed products before taking a drug test.
And in case you’re wondering what other kinds of foods could lead you to fail a substance test, we’ve got the answer for you: the best kinds.
Like pizza and pastries.
Now a fair number of people would probably testify that pizza is effectively an addictive drug anyway.
But according to a breathalyser manufacturer, food products that use yeast can in fact make you fail a breathalyser test. This is because yeast makes dough rise by fermenting sugars into a number of substances, one of which is alcohol.
And if you’re unlucky enough to be breathalysed immediately after eating pizza, then this could cause you to fail the test.
According to the same source, this also applies to ripe fruit and fruit drinks. These can ferment and produce just enough alcohol for you to test positive.
Thankfully, because the alcohol is in your mouth rather than in your digestive system, you should be fine after about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can rinse your mouth out with water.
Then there’s hemp seeds (often found in granola bars), hemp seed oil and hemp seed milk.
These can lead you to test positive for THC, the principal psychoactive chemical in weed. After all, hemp is itself a type of cannabis.
And even poor, innocent, tonic water can help you to fail a drug test.
Tonic water was originally drunk for its quinine, an antimalarial drug derived from the bark of the South American cinchona tree.
This led to the invention of gin and tonics by a British official in 19th-century colonial India, who found a way to liven up the anti-malarial prescription.
But having a few G&Ts could also liven up your drug test results.
So you could actually end up failing both a breathalyser and a drug scan. Which would give you one heck of a hangover.
Check out this content on BBC Three.
Can Eating Poppy Seeds Give You a Positive Drug Test?
Yes, it can. Eating poppy seeds before a drug test could give you a positive result, and you don’t need to eat that many for it to happen.
Even bagels, cakes, or muffins sprinkled with poppy seeds can cause a positive urine drug test, according to various case studies and other research.
Poppy seeds come from the seedpod of the opium poppy. When harvested, the seeds can absorb or become coated by opium extract. Opium extract is used to make opioid drugs, such as morphine, codeine, and heroin.
Though poppy seeds go through a thorough cleaning before being processed for consumer use for baking and cooking, they may still contain trace amounts of opiate residue.
The concentration isn’t enough to give you any of the effects of opioids, but it can be enough to produce false positive drug tests.
In the United States, up to 90 percent of the morphine content in opiate residue is removed from poppy seeds during processing. The concentration of residue left on poppy seeds varies among countries.
Studies show that opiates can be detected as soon as two hours after eating a poppy seed cake or poppy seed bagels. The amount of poppy seeds consumed appears to have something to do with it.
According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, codeine and morphine remain detectable in urine up to 48 hours after eating poppy seeds. That can jump to as high as 60 hours depending on how much you consume.
How many poppy seeds you need to consume for a positive drug test depends on a couple of things: the concentration of opiate residue on the poppy seeds and cutoff threshold used by the laboratory that’s handling the results.
The amount of morphine or codeine in urine that’s considered a positive result can vary from lab to lab.
The more poppy seeds you consume, the higher the chances of testing positive. And the more poppy seeds you eat, the higher the amount of opiates in your sample.
Pastries containing poppy seeds aren’t the only products of concern. Unwashed poppy seeds, poppy seed teas, and other products are being sold and marketed as natural sleep aids and pain relievers.
Unlike poppy seeds for baking and cooking that are regulated and go through a rigorous wash during processing, these products aren’t regulated. They’re intentionally not washed so the opiate component remains intact.
These products have led to overdoses and fatalities, including the death of two young men who died from overdosing on poppy seed tea.
Poppy seeds can be found in a number of baked goods and other foods. They’re often used in traditional dishes and desserts around the world.
Poppy seeds are easier to spot in some food products than others, so it’s important to check the ingredients list first if you’re concerned.
food that contain poppy seeds
Here are some common foods containing poppy seeds that you might want to avoid before a drug test:
- bagels, including poppy seed bagels and everything bagels, buns, and rolls
- cake or muffins, such as lemon poppy seed cake
- salad dressing
- poppy seed filling used for making desserts
- babka, a common Jewish dessert
It’s possible that even just one bagel or muffin highly loaded with poppy seeds can lead to a positive urine drug test.
Drug screening is becoming more common as part of the recruitment process for jobs. It’s also required if you’re trying to qualify for medical or life insurance.
If you’re going to be taking a drug test, it’s a good idea to avoid any products containing poppy seeds for at least two or three days before the test. That poppy seed cake may taste delicious, but it could cost you your job or insurance coverage.
It’s true, eating poppy seeds can change a drug test. As little as one bagel or muffin can affect drug test results for up to 60 hours. If you’re taking a drug test soon, avoid eating poppy seeds.