Maryland mom tests positive for opiates after eating poppy seed bagel

By Jeremy Keith

By Jeremy Keith

"I was in labor".

Elizabeth Eden told WBAL-TV in Baltimore she was in labor in April when a doctor told her she had tested positive for opiates.

A mother who ate a poppy seed bagel before going into labor wound up testing positive for opiates - and nearly losing her newborn baby in the process.

"'You've tested positive for opiates, '" Eden recalled. Opioids are derived from the poppy plant's sap, and while the seeds are perfectly safe to eat, they can cause a false positive on toxicology tests.

"I said, 'Well, can you test me again?' And 'I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast, ' and she said, 'No, you've been reported to the state, '" Eden said.

Because of her breakfast choice, Eden's daughter had to stay in the hospital on hold for five days, and Eden was assigned a state case worker for a home check-up.

"While poppy seeds don't actually contain morphine, the seeds can become coated by, or absorb, opium extract during harvesting", the United States Department of Agriculture explains on its website. "I said, 'Well, can you test me again?"

"It was traumatizing", Eden said.

Therefore, it's possible for people to have a false positive test for the drug after consuming poppy seed-covered pasteries. A positive test at St. Joseph Medical Center is 300 nanograms per milliliter.

After realizing Eden's situation was a legitimate case of the poppy seed defense, her case worker closed the file, but it was an ordeal she hopes no other mom has to go through.

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