Anyone who has ever had poppy seed cake can attest to the delicious nature of minuscule grains. As an addition in many baked goods — from cupcakes to bagels and all the breads in between — it’s hard to believe that the poppy plant is also the birthplace of one of the most addictive drugs in the world. The class of opioids was named after the original Opium and describes the life-destroying addictive properties and psychological effects of drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine.
So the question remains: can too many poppy seeds make you fail a urine drug test or hair follicle drug test? The answer is yes and no. Let’s find out why.
Many jobs require drug and alcohol tests, usually through rapid drug screenings, in order to gain employment. It would be pretty ridiculous if the poppy seed bagel you ate that morning was what disqualified from a big career break or potential advancement! Eliminating false positives is essential in these types of situations. With millions of drug tests being relied on by companies and potential employees alike, their accuracy is vital. Urine drug tests are usually the favored option because they reveal drug use within the past five days, but to assume a simple urine test can measure up when it comes to distinguishing poppy seeds from prescription grade opioids is a bit ridiculous.
That’s why in most cases where a drug specimen is being examined, drug testing is done in two phases. First, the test goes through an initial screening; if a lab tech is able to find a specific amount of drug above federally set cut-off levels (which is measured in nanograms per milliliter), the test will come up positive. To ensure that false-positives are not being reported — as the rumor goes with poppy seeds — a second, more detailed confirmatory test is performed. These are not your take-at-home urine testing kits!
The popular TV show Mythbusters revealed in one episode that eating enough poppy seed cake or bagels hours before an interview can make you test positive; however, they did not perform these secondary confirmatory tests, thereby discounting the impact such a result would have in a workplace environment.
A professional business would have access to all the resources necessary to guarantee that they’re not destroying somebody’s career based on their breakfast. Drug tests aren’t always foolproof (as with most things in life), but there are safeguards in place to protect individuals from the rare misinterpretation.