Woman in labour tests positive for opiates after eating poppy seed bagel

Poppy seeds are obtained from the ‘opium poppy’

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 08 August 2018 10:08
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A woman in Maryland tested positive for opiates while in labour, having eaten a poppy seed bagel for breakfast that morning.

Elizabeth Eden, a woman from Maryland, USA, had gone into labour on April 4 this year when a doctor at St Joseph Medical Centre informed her about the positive results of the test.

Despite expressing her disbelief over the results and requesting that she be tested again, the doctor then revealed that she had been reported to the state.

According to WJLA, Ms Eden’s newborn daughter was kept at the hospital for five days while her mother was monitored by a caseworker.

However, after concluding that Ms Eden’s consumption of a poppy seed bagel could have influenced the drug test results, the caseworker allowed the mother and her baby to go.

The presence of opiates in poppy seeds is a subject that’s been explored for quite some time.

Poppy seeds come from the papaver somniferum flowering plant, which is also known as the opium poppy.

The morphine opium extracted from the opium poppy can be used to produce heroin and other opioids.

Ms Eden told local news station WVTM 13 that she suspected her poppy seed bagel may have been to blame for the positive opiate test results.

Professor Atholl Johnston, a professor of clinical pharmacology at Queen Mary University, explained that while consuming poppy seeds may increase one’s chances of being tested positive for opiates, it’s unlikely to have an intoxicating impact.

“If you eat a poppy seed roll, it could give rise to a positive result on a urine drug test for morphine,” Professor Johnston told the BBC.

“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.”

In May this year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an update on the organisation’s scientific opinion on the opium alkaloids that can be found in poppy seeds following contamination during harvesting.

The EFSA concluded that the noscapine and papaverine alkaloids detected in some poppy seeds don’t necessarily pose a health concern.

Thai king credited for fighting opium menace

However, the thebaine alkaloid found in the poppy seed samples may present more of a health risk.

The Aegis Sciences Corporation, a forensic laboratory, states that the morphine and codeine found in poppy seeds may still be identified in a urine sample up to 48 hours after consumption.

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