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Poppy Seeds or Poppy Cock?

While it may be true that consuming poppy seeds can affect the outcome of a drug test, an article on the BBC entitled ‘These foods can make you test positive for drugs’ may not be entirely accurate.

The report suggests that a number of food types can make you fail a drug test. From an occupational drug testing perspective, there are several questionable elements of this article.

‘Unless of course you’ve tested positive for opiates and your alibi is that you ate some bread rolls.

This is the claim of a 58-year-old pipe fitter, suspended from work for 11 weeks after testing positive for morphine – an extract from the opium produced by poppies.’

The ‘B’ sample from the original urine sample should have been kept and analysed by an independent laboratory. In addition, a Medical Review should have been performed by a qualified Medical Review Officer. The MRO would have determined the reason for the non-negative screen result by interviewing the test donor and reviewing the laboratory report. This could result in a negative result due to declared dietary intake.

 ‘After receiving the positive results, the Liverpudlian paid £120 for a private hair-follicle test, which came back negative, and obtained a letter from his GP stating he had never been on any prescribed medication, such as morphine or painkillers – which contain opium.’

One thing to bear in mind is that a negative hair result NEVER rules out a confirmed positive urine laboratory test result.  Hair drug testing will only detect if there has been consumption within a monthly period of analysis that has been sufficient enough to be deposited in the hair to detect.  Low level or single use may not be detected in hair samples.

The piece then goes on to reference BBC One’s Rip Off Britain: Food featuring an experiment with Angela Rippon eating a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over 3 days. The level detected for her was a trace level, so negative by ODT standards and therefore didn’t ‘fit’ with what the documentary was saying so implied the trace was ‘positive’ instead.

The article also mentions how foods such as pizza and ripe fruit or fruit drinks can produce a positive breathalyser result due to the yeast present and the fermentation process.

If you have been affected by a drug test result due to dietary intake, we have specialist Clinical Advisors who can provide support and advice on this topic, call us on 0800 988 7107.

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