Finally, a low-morphine poppy seed that won’t influence the results of a drug test
Written By Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
It is not a myth, eating a poppy seed bagel before a drug test can get you fired. False positives are uncommon, but they’re still a legitimate concern for people who eats lots of poppy seeds baked goods.
According to the New York Times, testing can rule out heroin, but not other opiates. This gave rise to the “poppy seed defense” as a way of explaining away a drug test result — whether that excuse was honest or not.
In 1998, the limit for morphine was raised to 2,000 nanograms per milliliter to ward off some of these false positives (previously, it was 300 nanograms per milliliter). But if you eat a lot of poppy seed cake and other baked goods, you could still test in that range.
Now, a U.K. specialty foods company, FDL, supplies the food service industry with specialized ingredients and has created a low-morphine poppy seed that won’t influence the results of a drug test. This is bad news if you were hoping to beat a drug test by blaming it on your breakfast.
Gareth Elwin, FDL divisional director, told Food Navigator that baking companies have been “concerned about this for a while because it has the potential to have a negative impact on their brand image.”
FDL was inspired to make the poppy seeds after a number of high-profile incidents that resulted in positive drug tests, including one from a 72-year-old British TV reporter: Angela Rippon, ate poppy-seed baked goods for her BBC show Rip Off Britain: Food to see if she could fail a drug test. She consumed a loaf of poppy-seed bread and one poppy-seed bagel over the course of three days, and that apparently did her in.
Most poppy seeds have morphine levels at 900 parts per million. But FDL’s seeds have morphine levels at fewer than 20 parts per million — far less than what would show up on a drug test, according to Food Navigator.
Elwin also told Food Navigator that the company has already signed a deal with a bread company, although when and where the poppy seeds will be available has not been told to the public.