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.
The construction worker added, “I knew straight away that it had to be the poppy seeds I had eaten and I actually thought 'Great that explains it.'”
While the morphine content of poppy seeds can vary by a factor of nearly 600, drug tests are highly sensitive, and could return a positive result even after a relatively small number of the seeds.
“It is unlikely that a single poppy seed roll, or even a dozen rolls, would result in an individual ingesting enough morphine to have a pharmacological effect.”
But according to a breathalyser manufacturer, food products that use yeast can in fact make you fail a breathalyser test. This is because yeast makes dough rise by fermenting sugars into a number of substances, one of which is alcohol.
One is that the amount needed for a positive reading is higher than the amount found in poppy seeds. In fact, the United States raised the limit for a positive employment-based drug test from 300 nanograms a milliliter to 2,000 nanograms. This means contaminated poppy seeds don’t contain enough opium extract to cause a positive result.
At Trusted Employees, we can help you run a background check on yourself. We’ll help you dispute anything incorrect and show you what your potential employer will see. Contact us to learn more about running a background check on yourself.
Many employers also use a questionnaire before the drug test. This questionnaire usually checks for poppy seed ingestion and prescription drug use. The drug test technician can then adjust the test results to compensate.
Will Poppy Seeds Cause You to Fail an Employee Drug Test?
The corrections officer fired over a bagel managed to get his job back after two years. But, he won’t be eating poppy seeds anytime soon.
Pick up that bagel and go wild. While eating too many poppy seeds can make a drug test give a false positive, most employment drug tests confirm the results using a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC or MS) test. This test is specifically used to rule out interfering substances like poppy seeds.
As we’ve discovered, it is possible for poppy seeds to show up on drug tests. With drug tests being able to distinguish between poppy seeds and opiates though, the possibility of a false positive hurting your job prospects is pretty low. But, drug tests are only one part of the employee background check process. How can you ensure all your background checks come back clean?
The guard was genuinely bewildered. He hadn’t taken any illicit substances or even prescription medication. So, how did those drugs get into his system? Why did the drug test turn up positive?