Avoiding false positive drug results from poppyseeds
June 30, 2005 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Dummy alert: I have just been offered a new position, and the company requires a drug test. I knew this, and ate a poppyseed bagel anyway. When will the possibility of a poppy-induced positive be minimal?

I called the lab today, and they suggested that coming in today for the test would be a bad idea, but they couldn't/wouldn't give me an estimate as to when I'd be okay. I'm having a hard time wading through my Google results - I just want to know if I'll be okay to take the test Saturday morning. (I need to take the test within 24 hours of accepting the offer, and I'd like to accept tomorrow.) Also, it was actually an "everything" bagel, so the poppy level wasn't all that high.
posted by ferociouskitty to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
 
If you're *really* worried about it, perhaps you can buy drug test kits at your local pharmacy?

Otherwise, I think MythBusters tried this and discovered it was about 1 day. Erowid has more info.
posted by shepd at 3:59 PM on June 30, 2005


You should be fine.
posted by pomegranate at 4:18 PM on June 30, 2005


I ate a poppyseed muffin the morning of a drug test and I passed. Just drink lots of water. I've never heard of employment-affiliated drug tests allowing you to postpone before. Usually they want you to take the test within 24 hours, because it's not just poppyseeds that you can flush out of your system if you've got more time.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:34 PM on June 30, 2005


From what I've heard, they usually only check for pot anyway.
posted by falconred at 5:02 PM on June 30, 2005


Third on okay. Go in confident.
posted by sled at 5:03 PM on June 30, 2005


Before one employment drug test, I was asked to fill out a form indicating all the medications I take that might cause problems with the test. If you took medications that could cause false positives, and your test came back positive, then you'd be asked to provide proof of prescriptions. However, the next time I had to take a drug test after accepting a position, I was taking ("internet doctor" prescribed) diet pills. Because they were a form of speed, I was obviously concerned. I tried to tell them before the test and they said they were not allowed to know that information and if there was a problem with the test, they'd call me and then I could tell them. I guess laws vary from state to state, but it seems like you will have a chance , one way or another, to tell them about the poppyseeds.

If you are asked to fill out a form, perhaps you can indicate the poppyseed bagel. If you are really worried about it, bring in the receipt for the bagel (if you have one) with you.
posted by necessitas at 5:06 PM on June 30, 2005


You need to eat far, far more than the poppyseeds on a bagel. One toxicologist suggested to me that you would need to eat several pounds of poppyseeds in order to reliably set the 'opiate' outcome positive.

Positive for opiates in and of itself isn't necessarily such a bad thing; many legit prescription meds are opiates, and your employer's forbidden to inquire whether you've been prescribed same. So if a positive opiate is used to disqualify you from the job, rest assured that they didn't really want to hire you and were looking for an excuse.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:33 PM on June 30, 2005


Pee in the cup during the middle of your urination. The beginning of your piss contains the most toxins, hence it starts really yellow and then gradually becomes more clear. Yes, I know thats a really weird thing to know. Drink alot of water too, but you havent done any drugs so you really have no problem.
posted by pwally at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2005


The Straight Dope on poppyseeds & drug tests (as of 1998).
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:57 PM on June 30, 2005


You need to eat far, far more than the poppyseeds on a bagel.

Nup. They did this on Mythbusters and found that eating a couple-three poppyseed bagels would get you a big, fat positive on the actual tests that are usually taken.

Suspicion: the difference is that the tests your toxicologist friend uses are more careful, accurate, reliable, and expensive than the ones marketed to HR departments.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:10 PM on June 30, 2005


I wouldn't put much stock in mythbusters, they are really sloppy "scientists" and often seem to have no idea of the limits of the underlying physics/chemistry/biology they are testing. Classic example was their exploding gas experiment, anyone with even an elementry knowledge of carbs or fuel injection could have told them why they couldn't get it to explode.

Cecil is a lot more trustworthy, seems to be not much to worry about.
posted by Mitheral at 6:34 PM on June 30, 2005


I wouldn't put much stock in mythbusters, they are really sloppy "scientists"

Their methodology was pretty simple in this case.

(1) Eat poppyseed bagels.
(2) Wait a little while.
(3) Take commercial whizz-quiz.

Assuming they weren't already taking opiates, hard to fault that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:08 PM on June 30, 2005


I ate a poppyseed bagel the morning of a drug test. I was fine. Even if you were to fail, I think they have to let you take it at least one more time, because the test is not perfect. I'd worry more about drinking so much water that your test comes back inconclusive.
posted by Airhen at 7:52 PM on June 30, 2005


I'm with airhen. Believe it or not, these people run a lot of tests and know all about poppy seeds and over-the-counter codeine. Don't try anything funny like urinating half way through your exam, or drinking so much water that your urine is completely diluted. THey will notice this, since they are looking for signs of duplicity.

Besides, eating poppy seeds is not a crime, nor is using robaxacet. The only time I took a drug test I asked about poppy-seeds, since I love them. The doctor told me that not even the government would reject me on the basis of one test, unless I was acting suspiciously, since doctors have many other indicators for detecting drug abuse.

Regardless, the number of poppy seeds on an everything bagel is just not that significant.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:38 PM on June 30, 2005


Don't try anything funny like urinating half way through your exam, or drinking so much water that your urine is completely diluted.

Taking B complex vitamin or niacin tablet would make your urine plenty yellow. Drink all the water you wish and then buy a vitamin pack at a mini-mart and swallow the tablets therein a couple of hours before the test.
posted by y2karl at 9:01 PM on June 30, 2005


Followup: Because I've never seen my husband so nervous about anything in his life (this really is a dream job for me), I decided to take an at-home test this morning. It tells me all clear, so I'm sure I'll be fine to take the real deal tomorrow. Thanks for helping ease my mind!
posted by ferociouskitty at 4:16 AM on July 1, 2005


Cecil is a lot more trustworthy, seems to be not much to worry about

Huh? Cecil says: "Let's not beat around the bush. The answer to your question is yes--eating a couple of poppy seed rolls, bagels, etc., can cause you to fail a routine drug test." Are you on drugs bagels?
posted by languagehat at 7:55 AM on July 1, 2005


I took a drug test while I was on Xanax (prescribed legally). I revealed that fact on the paperwork I filled out beforehand, no one ever checked up on the prescription. Don't know if that is univeral, though.
posted by kamikazegopher at 12:24 AM on July 2, 2005


languagehat writes "Huh? Cecil says: 'Let's not beat around the bush. The answer to your question is yes--eating a couple of poppy seed rolls, bagels, etc., can cause you to fail a routine drug test.' Are you on drugs bagels?"

Keep reading, a little farther down he says:
"This murky situation may not last long, though. Largely because of the poppy seed problem, the federal test threshold for morphine and codeine will probably be raised in late 1998 from 300 nanograms per millileter to 2,000. The feds figure they might miss a few drug abusers but they'll eliminate most of the false positives. No doubt many corporate drug testers will follow suit."
posted by Mitheral at 5:10 PM on July 6, 2005


« Older Picking a Fixed Gear Bike   |   Can a browser pass HTTP requests the same as... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.