False positive drug tests
Although the drug opium is produced by "milking" latex from the unripe fruits ("seed pods") rather than from the seeds, all parts of the plant can contain or carry the opium alkaloids, especially morphine and codeine. This means that eating foods (e.g., muffins) that...
Best answer: False positive drug tests
Although the drug opium is produced by "milking" latex from the unripe fruits ("seed pods") rather than from the seeds, all parts of the plant can contain or carry the opium alkaloids, especially morphine and codeine. This means that eating foods (e.g., muffins) that contain poppy seeds can result in a false positive for opiates in a drug test. The test is true positive in that it indicates the presence of the drug correctly; it is false only in the sense that the drug was not taken in the typical manner of abuse.
This was considered "confirmed" by the presenters of the television program MythBusters. One participant, Adam Savage, who ate an entire loaf of poppy seed cake, tested positive for opiates just half an hour later. A second participant, Jamie Hyneman, who ate three poppy seed bagels, first tested positive two hours after eating. Both tested positive for the remainder of the day, but tested negative seventy-two hours later. The show Brainiac: Science Abuse also did experiments where a priest ate several poppy seed bagels and gave a sample, which also resulted in a false positive.
The results of this experiment are inconclusive, because a test was used with an opiate cutoff level of 300 ng/mL instead of the current SAMHSA recommended cutoff level used in the NIDA 5 test, which was raised from 300 ng/mL to 2,000 ng/mL in 1998 in order to avoid false positives from poppy seeds. However, according to an article published in the Medical Science Law Journal, after ingesting "a curry meal or two containing various amounts of washed seeds" where total morphine levels were in the range 58.4 to 62.2 µg/g seeds, the urinary morphine levels were found to range as high as 1.27 µg/mL (1,270 ng/mL) urine. Another article in the Journal of Forensic Science reports that concentration of morphine in some batches of seeds may be as high as 251 µg/g. In both studies codeine was also present in the seeds in smaller concentrations. Therefore it is possible to cross the current standard 2,000 ng/mL limit of detection, depending on seed potency and quantity ingested. Some toxicology labs still continue to use a cutoff level of 300 ng/mL.
A fictional example of such a false positive test in popular culture was in the Seinfeld episode The Shower Head, where the character Elaine Benes was fired after testing positive for opium from the consumption of poppy seed muffins.
The sale of poppy seeds from Papaver somniferum is banned in Singapore because of the morphine content. Poppy seeds are also banned in Saudi Arabia for various religious and drug control reasons. In United Arab Emirates, a few poppy seeds found on a traveller's clothes will very likely lead to imprisonment.
4 days ago