I swear I'm not addicted to poppy seeds.
November 5, 2007 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I just took a drug screening test this morning. Stupidly, about 45 minutes before I peed in the cup I ate an everything bagel. Should I let HR know? Or just wait and see what happens?

I'm afraid I've totally screwed myself and will now return a false positive because of a couple poppy seeds. Should I alert the HR people? Or would that make me just look like an idiot if it comes back negative?
posted by lannanh to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
 
It wouldn'tnmake you look like such a big idiot; everybody's nerves get jangled by drug tests, but 45 minutes seems not a very long time for opiods to make it all the way to your bladder from your bagel.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2007


Wait and see what happens.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2007


HR people are generally pretty understanding folk, as people go. But I really don't think you'll come back positive. Even if you tested positive on the simple test, they'll have a backup test to make sure it's not "poppy seeds" that they found.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2007


The only tests that will trip from poppy seeds are the consumer "pee on a stick" types. If you went to an actual testing clinic or a doctor's office you have nothing to worry about.
posted by French Fry at 9:24 AM on November 5, 2007


Seconding TeatimeGrommit. If it does come out positive, your workplace should make you take a follow up test. The Straight Dope says:

The fact remains that if you got fired due to a borderline positive and had no follow-up tests or corroborating signs of drug use, a good lawyer would be able to cram that drug test--and your pink slip--down your bosses' throats. Currently, 87 percent of positives are reversed on follow-up.
posted by spec80 at 9:28 AM on November 5, 2007


Mythbusters also covered this. You're fine, if memory serves.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:45 AM on November 5, 2007


Mythbusters did cover this, and the result was that you may *not* be fine.

Poppy seeds do not give a false positive. You get a positive from ingesting poppy seeds because they DO contain opioids. Poppy seeds give a true positive. French Fry is incorrect.

TeatimeGrommit is only partially correct. They will have a backup test. But because poppy seeds give a true positive, the confirmation test may also come back positive.

Then again, it may not. Because poppy seeds are in fact giving a true positive, there are actually two different testing standards for morphine and codeine. If you are being tested by the government, they will be testing for much higher levels (2000 ng/mL minimum cutoff, which would require eating a LOT of seeds), and some employers have adopted that standard. However, as of four years ago, at least (which is when I stopped working in drug testing), there was no law requiring employers to use that standard, and some still used the old standard of 300 ng/mL, which you can easily achieve with a poppy-seed bagel.

I'm not saying spec80 is wrong, by the way; if they make you give another sample, then you should be fine. But the follow-up test TeatimeGrommit refers to will be performed on the same sample as the screening test.

Definitely let HR know.
posted by solotoro at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2007


If you tell them before the result comes back, you'll have a lot more credibility than if you wait, get a positive, and then try to explain to them about the bagel.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:38 AM on November 5, 2007


Mythbusters did cover this, and the result was that you may *not* be fine.

My recollection of this episode was that they had to ingest an obscene quantity of poppyseed cake in order to get a positive. I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by hopeless romantique at 12:18 PM on November 5, 2007


a good lawyer would be able to cram that drug test--and your pink slip--down your bosses' throats.

Whoa! Lets slow things down a second. First I'm not a lawyer, but the vast majority of employees are at will. This means that they can be fired for any reason besides explicitly illegal ones.

In other words, an employer who fires an employee for failing a drug test with no follow up isn't breaking the law unless there is specific local legislation.
posted by JakeLL at 4:43 PM on November 5, 2007


My recollection of this episode was that they had to ingest an obscene quantity of poppyseed cake in order to get a positive.

This is true, but they did not address the issue of multiple testing levels, and there's no reason to think they used anything other than the higher minimum cutoff (2000 ng/mL) used by NIDA in forensic testing. Employers may still use the lower level (300 ng/mL).

Following the consumption of bread rolls (mean 0.76 g seed covering per roll) by four subjects, all urine specimens analysed produced negative results (using the Dade Bebring EMIT II opiate screening assay) with the exception of one subject (body weight 63.0 kg) who consumed two poppy seed rolls. In this subject opiate positive screening results were obtained for up to 6 h post ingestion with maximum urinary morphine and codeine concentrations of 832.0 ng/ml (@ 2–4 h post ingestion) and 47.9 ng/ml (@ 0–2 h post ingestion) respectively being achieved.
posted by solotoro at 6:54 PM on November 5, 2007


Well, if any of ya'll care, I passed my test. YaY!!!
posted by lannanh at 5:50 PM on November 12, 2007


Congratulations! Glad I was wrong to worry :)
posted by solotoro at 6:12 PM on November 12, 2007


« Older It must have jumped right out in front of them.   |   Is Yahoo's willingness to hand over dissidents... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.