Poppy seed ingestion and opiates urinalysis: a closer look

J Anal Toxicol. 1990 Sep-Oct;14(5):308-10. doi: 10.1093/jat/14.5.308.


Review of scientific literature shows that ingestion of poppy seed containing products can result in a positive urinalysis test for opiates. In many cases the amount of seeds ingested is unrealistically high or is not specified. This study is designed to correlate the amount of seeds ingested with the urinary concentration of total morphine as a function of time. Two males and two females were involved in all four protocols, which were separated by at least one week. Subjects ingested one, two, or three poppy seed rolls, each containing 2 g of Australian seeds (108 micrograms morphine/g seed) in three protocols. In the fourth protocol subjects ingested two rolls per day for four consecutive days. Urine specimens were collected for 48 h after ingestion, analyzed by RIA, EMIT, and TDx, and selected samples were confirmed by GC/MS. The data show that the highest concentrations of total morphine in urine were found 3-8 h after ingestion or in the first-void samples. Of the 264 samples collected, there were only 16 specimens that exceeded 300 ng/mL by any of the methods used for analysis with only three samples exceeding 400 ng/mL by GC/MS (406, 611, and 954 ng/mL). In all cases, the total opiates level was less than 150 ng/mL 24 h after ingestion. Following these studies, one of the subjects ingested a poppy seed cake containing 15 g seed obtained from a bakery which analyzed for 169 micrograms morphine/g seed. Urine specimens were collected over 48 h, and all specimens were analyzed by GC/MS.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Codeine / urine
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Fluorescence Polarization
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Narcotics / urine*
  • Papaver*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Seeds*
  • Substance Abuse Detection*


  • Narcotics
  • Codeine