Pentagon warns troops to stay away from poppy seed bagels because of the possibility of a failed drug test

Harvesting of some poppy seeds could result in contamination that would “undermine the [Defense] Department’s ability to identify illicit drug use,” a Pentagon official said.

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A poppy seed bagel. “The Military Departments are hereby directed to notify service members to avoid consumption of all poppy seeds to include food products and baked goods containing poppy seeds,” a Pentagon official says.

“The Military Departments are hereby directed to notify service members to avoid consumption of all poppy seeds to include food products and baked goods containing poppy seeds,” a Pentagon official says.

AP

Back away from the baked goods, Doughboy.

That’s the warning from the Pentagon to its 1.3 million active-duty members of the military amid new concerns that poppy seeds from bagels or muffins could prompt a failed drug test.

A bagel “could cause a codeine-positive urinalysis result and undermine the department’s ability to identify illicit drug use,” said the warning from Gilbert Cisneros, the Pentagon’s top official for personnel.

“The Military Departments are hereby directed to notify service members to avoid consumption of all poppy seeds to include food products and baked goods containing poppy seeds,” Cisneros wrote.

The seeds come from poppy plants, a commercial crop cultivated by the drug and food industries for pharmaceuticals and spices. Though there aren’t significant amounts of opiates in poppy seeds, contamination from the substances in the plants can happen during harvesting.

Though the concerns aren’t new, Cisneros said recent data had found that some poppy seeds have a higher level of morphine or codeine contamination.

“Research shows that morphine and codeine can sometimes be detected in the urine up to 48 hours after ingestion of poppy seeds from some pastries, such as bagels, muffins and cakes,” according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the national organization for Olympic sports.

The anti-doping agency urges athletes to avoid poppy seeds a few days before and during competition to avoid false positive tests.

The Pentagon became aware of potential problems with poppy seeds in 2022, said Navy Cdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Defense Department spokesperson.

Since then, the Pentagon has contracted with an independent laboratory to test codeine and morphine contamination in several varieties, Schwegman said. That analysis and other studies led to the warning from Cisneros.

It’s not clear how many troops might have had tests affected by poppy seeds. The Pentagon is reviewing codeine-only positive drug tests dating to 2019, Schwegman said.

“The amount of poppy seeds consumed, concentration of codeine detected in urine and time of consumption relative to the drug test are also important factors,” Schwegman said. “As we gather more information, we will reassess and update as appropriate.’’

Read more at USA Today.

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