“Recent data suggests that certain poppy seed varieties may have higher codeine contamination than previously reported,” reads the warning. “Consumption of poppy seed products could cause a codeine positive urinalysis result and undermine the Department’s ability to identify illicit drug use.”
The department said out of an “abundance of caution” they are urging all military personnel to avoid the consumption of poppy seeds in all forms, including in food and baked goods.
The memo acknowledges issues with poppy seeds and urinalysis are nothing new. But is a bagel or muffin for breakfast enough to get you in trouble on a drug test?
Because the amount of opiate residue left in poppy seeds varies from producer to producer and product to product, it’s not easy to determine a threshold of how many poppy seeds you can eat without triggering a false positive, said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency nonprofit. The only way to ensure you won’t have an issue is to avoid the seeds altogether, the Agency said.
Codeine from poppy seeds can stay in your system for up to two days, said Winchester Hospital in Massachusetts. Hair analyses for opiates are more accurate, and wouldn’t be triggered by eating poppy seeds, according to the hospital.
But no matter how many poppy seed bagels you eat, you won’t get high. The seeds are washed before they’re available to use in food, so there may be just enough trace opioid residue to show up on a sensitive drug test, but not enough to get anyone high.
The Department of Defense said the poppy seed policy will be revised as more information becomes available.
Service members who think poppy seeds may have affected a recent drug test should work with their legal office, the memo said.