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Poppy Seed Ingestion as a Contributing Factor to Opiate-Positive Urinalysis Results: The Pacific Perspective

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: (May 1991) Pages: 685-696
C M Selavka
Date Published
15 pages
The contribution of poppy seed foods to positive opiate urinalysis results was assessed by the US Army Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory in Hawaii.
Seven different poppy seed food products were consumed by male and female volunteers, and urine specimens were collected at time intervals up to either 24 or 72 hours post ingestion. Urine samples were analyzed for opiates with a radioimmunoassay (RIA), and positive samples were further analyzed for morphine and codeine with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Poppy seed cake, bagels, muffins, and rolls did not contain sufficient quantities of poppy seed to produce opiate positive results based on US Department of Defense (DOD) GC-MS cutoff levels (morphine, 4000 nanograms (ng)/milliliter (ml), codeine 2,000 ng/ml), although a number of the specimens were positive according to the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) cutoff levels (morphine and codeine 300 ng/ml). Ingestion of poppy seed streusel or Danish pastry yielded confirmed morphine and codeine positive specimens for both DOD and NIDA confirmation cutoff values. These findings show that poppy seed ingestion qualifies as a possible cause for a positive opiate urinalysis result. All poppy seed foods can lead to NIDA opiate positive specimens and ingestion of some foods can lead to DOD opiate positive results. 41 table, 12 figures, and 9 references (Author abstract modified)