Can Eating Poppy Seed Bagels Make You Test Positive for Opiates?

False-positive test results are a common occurrence in the medical field, especially when it comes to eating poppy seed bagels and testing positive for opiates, believe it or not! They occur when a test cannot identify and measure a specific compound of interest or distinguish between similar forms of the combination. A classic example of this occurrence is reporting a positive test for opiates after eating pastries or desserts containing poppy seeds.

Why Can a Poppy Seed Bagel Make You Fail a Drug Test?

Opiates or opioids, such as heroin, codeine, and morphine, occur naturally in the seeds of the poppy plant. Available in both illicit and prescription forms, people use opioids to relieve pain. Their widespread use comes with severe consequences, including drug overdose deaths and substance use disorders.

Aside from their opiate content, poppy seeds are highly nutritious—little wonder why they are widely used in garnishing foods. Poppy seeds contain minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and Phosphorus, and several vitamins. They also have a great taste and are used in cakes and muffins, salad dressings, desserts, and granola. Often, it is easy to spot poppy seeds when they are sprinkled on foods. However, when you are in doubt, asking questions or checking food labels can help.

Although poppy seeds lose most of their opiates as they ripen, they may still contain the compounds in enough quantities to yield a positive opiate test when present in foods. Inadequate processing and contamination during harvesting are likely factors that affect the opiate content of poppy seeds.

Can Eating Poppy Seed Bagels Make You Test Positive for Opiates?

Testing Positive for Opiates Because of Poppy Seed Bagels

Testing positive to opiates after eating poppy seed-containing snacks, such as bagels, has a lot to do with the poppy seeds consumed and the category of test taken. For instance, the likelihood of having a false positive opioid test result is often higher when urine is examined as opposed to hair. Opiates from poppy seed bagels or other snacks can last up to 2 days in urine samples. Whereas for hair samples, only a more long-term use of opioids, such as is characteristic of abuse, will yield a positive result.

In a few cases, variations between different laboratories may also affect whether or not a test result turns out to be positive. Additionally, the relatively high threshold of 2,000-3,000 ng/mL now used in opiate tests suggests one may have to consume numerous bagels to record a positive test in the laboratory. Nevertheless, with the relevance of opiate test results to meeting qualifications for employment or sports activities, it is always safer to refrain from poppy seed products as much as possible.

Dealing with Opioid Abuse and Addiction

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