Is it true that eating poppy seeds bagels can cause you to fail a drug test?
Prior to December 1, 1998, when the National Institute on Drug Abuse's cut-off for a POSITIVE opiate urine test was 300 ng/ml -- the answer was YES! Opiates --morphine, cocaine, heroin –are produced from the seeds of certain kinds of poppy flowers. Poppy seeds contain traces of both morphine and codeine. In the late 1990's, the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed over 1 million urinalysis samples and confirmed over 80% of false positive readings were due to poppy seed consumption, prescriptions and other causes. Eating a poppy seed bagel could produce a concentration of 250 ng/ml and consuming 3 teaspoons of poppy seeds a concentration of 1,200 ng/ml! As of December 1, 1998, NIDA raised the cut-off concentration level for a positive opiate urine test to 2,000 ng/ml. The likelihood of a false positive due to poppy seed consumption is now unlikely given this new standard. However, the accuracy of tests at different labs as well as home tests will vary. If testing is likely, you may still want to avoid poppy seed products.