Dr. Ed shares insight on why Pentagon encourages troops to avoid eating poppy seeds

Drug tests can show up positive up to 16 hours just after one bagel, Dominguez says.
Dr. Ed shares insight on why Pentagon encouraged troops to avoid eating poppy seeds
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 10:43 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2023 at 10:26 AM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Pentagon recently issued a warning for troops not to eat poppy seeds due to the effects that they have on the body and showing up positive in various drug tests.

Dr. Ed Dominguez, KLTV and KTRE’s Med Team doctor and an infectious disease specialist, shared some insight as to why poppy seeds have this effect.

“Poppy seeds contain a compound that when you shortly after you eat it, as little as one poppy seed bagel can give you a positive urine drug test for opioids,” said Dominguez.

He says a positive drug test for opioids could mean testing positive for drugs such as heroin, morphine, or codeine.

“Because the chemical in the poppy seed is very similar to those unless you have a test that look specifically for codeine you are going to simply lead to a false positive,” said Dominguez.

This has been a concern for those in the military and those who are drug tested regularly.

“So there’s been this concern as of late at least for people who have been unduly released from the military or unsanctioned by the military and it turns out that poppy seeds were the problems. The military has now said please stay away from poppy seeds,” said Dominguez.

Drug test can show up positive up to 16 hours just after one bagel, said Dominguez.

“Poppy seeds are often found in baked goods such as muffins and salad dressing. Poppy seeds are more popular outside the country in places like Afghanistan and parts of Asia,” said Dominguez.

Dominguez said there are solutions to possibly reduce false positive test, including hair test.

“The military is trying to convert or pivot to these new drug tests that look specifically for codeine in the urine and not just for the precursor or what we call the pre-drug or pro-drug to codeine which is kind of a methylcodeine type of compound that is found in the poppy seed,” said Dominguez.

However, Dominguez said that employers and companies prefer to distribute urine tests rather than hair tests.