Share on Pinterest

Yes, it can. Eating poppy seeds before a drug test could give you a positive result, and you don’t need to eat that many for it to happen.

Even bagels, cakes, or muffins sprinkled with poppy seeds can cause a positive urine drug test, according to various case studies and other research.

Poppy seeds come from the seedpod of the opium poppy. When harvested, the seeds can absorb or become coated by opium extract. Opium extract is used to make opioid drugs, such as morphine, codeine, and heroin.

Though poppy seeds go through a thorough cleaning before being processed for consumer use for baking and cooking, they may still contain trace amounts of opiate residue.

The concentration isn’t enough to give you any of the effects of opioids, but it can be enough to produce false positive drug tests.

In the United States, up to 90 percent of the morphine content in opiate residue is removed from poppy seeds during processing. The concentration of residue left on poppy seeds varies among countries.

Studies show that opiates can be detected as soon as two hours after eating a poppy seed cake or poppy seed bagels. The amount of poppy seeds consumed appears to have something to do with it.

According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, codeine and morphine remain detectable in urine up to 48 hours after eating poppy seeds. That can jump to as high as 60 hours depending on how much you consume.

How many poppy seeds you need to consume for a positive drug test depends on a couple of things: the concentration of opiate residue on the poppy seeds and cutoff threshold used by the laboratory that’s handling the results.

The amount of morphine or codeine in urine that’s considered a positive result can vary from lab to lab.

The more poppy seeds you consume, the higher the chances of testing positive. And the more poppy seeds you eat, the higher the amount of opiates in your sample.

Pastries containing poppy seeds aren’t the only products of concern. Unwashed poppy seeds, poppy seed teas, and other products are being sold and marketed as natural sleep aids and pain relievers.

Unlike poppy seeds for baking and cooking that are regulated and go through a rigorous wash during processing, these products aren’t regulated. They’re intentionally not washed so the opiate component remains intact.

These products have led to overdoses and fatalities, including the death of two young men who died from overdosing on poppy seed tea.

Poppy seeds can be found in a number of baked goods and other foods. They’re often used in traditional dishes and desserts around the world.

Poppy seeds are easier to spot in some food products than others, so it’s important to check the ingredients list first if you’re concerned.

food that contain poppy seeds

Here are some common foods containing poppy seeds that you might want to avoid before a drug test:

  • bagels, including poppy seed bagels and everything bagels, buns, and rolls
  • cake or muffins, such as lemon poppy seed cake
  • salad dressing
  • poppy seed filling used for making desserts
  • babka, a common Jewish dessert
  • granola

It’s possible that even just one bagel or muffin highly loaded with poppy seeds can lead to a positive urine drug test.

Drug screening is becoming more common as part of the recruitment process for jobs. It’s also required if you’re trying to qualify for medical or life insurance.

If you’re going to be taking a drug test, it’s a good idea to avoid any products containing poppy seeds for at least two or three days before the test. That poppy seed cake may taste delicious, but it could cost you your job or insurance coverage.