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Pre-Employment Drug Screen? You May Want to Avoid the Poppy Seed Bagel…

A large number of employers drug test their employees. Many are screening employees before employment, randomly, or after a workplace accident. It is important for an employer to distinguish between actual illegal drug consumption and false positive results.

One excuse that employees sometimes make to explain a positive result is that they consumed food containing poppy seeds. Is this a valid claim? An article published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology reviewed the effect of consuming raw poppy seeds, as well as foods containing them, on urine and oral fluid drug testing. It was found that morphine and codeine concentrations were detectable using laboratory-based urine and oral fluid drug screening after the participants ate a poppy seed roll and raw poppy seeds. The research shows that it is possible to test positive on a drug test for morphine and codeine after eating poppy seed-containing foods. The likelihood however is much lower in an oral fluid drug screen than in urine drug screens due to the shorter detection window.

The next time you’re scheduled for a drug screening, make sure to order a plain bagel rather than a poppy seed bagel!

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