Poppy seeds and their potential to cause false positive drug test results.   

Poppy seeds and their potential to cause false positive drug test results.   

There have been multiple cases where individuals have tested non-negative on drug tests and claim the foods they have consumed are to blame. Most recently, a man reportedly lost out on a potential job offer after eating poppy seed bread from Tesco.   

Morphine and Codeine are examples of Natural Opioid Derivatives, both of which are used medically as pain relief but can be abused. Heroin is a well-known Class A drug also derived from poppy seeds.   

So if you have a drug test coming up, should you avoid eating specific foods?   

The short answer should be, nothing – if testing is being conducted correctly, with quality equipment that meets a recognised standard. Furthermore, processes used should allow for the known challenges with the cross-reactivity of substances. This will ensure any non-negative results will be handled with the appropriate rigour and verified by a certified laboratory.    

Poppy seeds should be a consideration for any method of testing, especially when the testing method used is urine-based, these systems look for secondary (legacy) metabolites that show up 1-2 days after the consumption of a substance. This allows for longer windows of detection but leaves the donor vulnerable to false positives even though the presence of an innocent substance. Other foods to avoid include; hemp seed/CBD snacks (can show positive for THC), coca tea (Coca leaves contain traces of cocaine) and tonic water (contains a small amount of quinine, which can be used to cut drugs, such as heroin, therefore may reflect drug activity in urine tests). 

All non-negative test results (the identification of a substance at the point of care screening test) should be mitigated through robust independent laboratory confirmatory testing. This will confirm the actual substance present. Any employment decisions should always be made on the results provided by a laboratory, not at the point that the screening test has been conducted. 

OdiliaClark operates within equipment manufacturer Draeger’s recognised ‘Clear Mouth Policy’ where the importance of ensuring nothing has been in the oral cavity for 15 minutes before testing is highlighted, to avoid interference with results. Using quality equipment is important for the company itself, as well as their employee’s, as non-negative test results can impact views on the company as a whole. It is important to avoid false positives for the company to maintain the employment of their staff. 

If you would like to learn more about drug and alcohol testing please get in touch with one of our specialist impairment testing team, contact us today.  


This article was written by one of the Odilia Clark team. Odilia Clark is a specialist HR services company with over 30 years of combined experience in the space. OdiliaClark offers an independent drug and alcohol testing service using state-of-the-art Dräger equipment as used by the British Police and Fire Services.     

OdiliaClark’s consultants are fully trained and certified in carrying out impartial, digital drug testing for companies’ employees. They also offer a range of other services including policy writing, implementation and staff training services.        

For more information on how Odilia Clark can help your business deal with these changes with a bespoke package designed for your business contact info@odiliaclark.com 

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