A MUM in the US state of Maryland almost lost custody of her child after a poppy seed breakfast bagel resulted in a positive test for opiates.
But just why could a simple breakfast cause such a massive issue? We take a look at poppy seeds in a bit more depth.
What are poppy seeds?
Poppy seeds are oilseeds that come from the opium poppy.
The opium poppy itself produces a milky fluid from which drugs like morphine and codeine are derived.
As a result of this, poppy seeds can often contain trace amounts of opiates which can trigger false positives during drug tests.
Why do poppy seeds affect a drug test?
Morphine levels in poppy seeds range between 4–200 mg/kg.
Detection during a drug test depends on how contaminated the seeds were at the time of consumption, how much was eaten and how concentrated urine is at the time of testing.
In the US, the cut-off for morphine testing used to be 300 ng/mL.
However, in 1998 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration raised it to 2,000 ng/mL for workplace testing to account for a large number of resulting errors.
What are the health benefits?
Poppy seeds are consumed across the world for their wide ranging health benefits as well as their great taste.
They are a rich source of thiamin, folate and other essential mineral including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
Poppy seeds are known to relieve exhaustion, decrease anxiety and aid a good night’s sleep.
They also provide relief for abdominal pain, and can be used to ease a dry cough.
In Asian cultures, they are also used as a fertility and libido boost for women, as well as helping with digestive discomfort.
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Which countries have banned poppy seeds?
The sale of poppy seeds from the opium poppy plant is banned in Singapore because of the morphine content, and they are classed as “prohibited goods” by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
They are prohibited in Taiwan, primarily because of the risk that viable seeds will be sold and used to grow opium poppies.
Since 2005, China has prohibited spice mixes made from both poppy seeds and their pods because of the traces of opiates in them.
Despite its use in Arab cuisine as a bread spice, poppy seeds are actually banned in Saudi Arabia for various religious and drug control reasons.
The seeds from the opium poppy are also banned in the United Arab Emirates