Poppy seed bagel causes Maryland woman to test positive for opiates while giving birth

A Maryland woman who had a poppy seed bagel for breakfast on the day she went into labor said it caused her to test positive for opiates.

Elizabeth Eden is calling for better testing and awareness among new parents, after the false positive test forced her to stay in the hospital for more testing with follow-ups from a state social worker when she gave birth to her daughter, WBAL reported.

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Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, who leads the obstetrics and gynecology unit at St. Joseph Medical Center, where Eden gave birth, told WBAL their drug tests are meant to catch as many true drug abusers as possible.

"We don't typically educate patients, and it's a really good point that people probably should know that if you use poppy seeds before you have a toxicology screen that it could result in a false positive test," said Rossiter-Pratt.

Poppy seeds come from the opium poppy plant and contain a trace amount of opioids, so it doesn't take much to test positive for drugs after eating a poppy seed bagel, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

A positive test for drugs is 300 nanograms per millimeter at St. Joseph's, Rossiter-Pratt said. Studies have shown that a teaspoon of poppy seeds can cause your levels to reach 1,200 nanograms per millimeter, WBAL reported.

After the hospital realized Eden’s drug test was a false positive due to poppy seeds, her case worker closed the file.

Eden said the experience was "traumatizing," and she wrote a letter to the hospital outlining her ordeal and to warn others to be aware of the affects of poppy seeds.

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