Poppy seed bagels and false positive drug tests

by Walter Olson on October 20, 2010

If you thought such happenings were just an urban legend, the “Kafkaesque” experience of this Florida woman might make you think again. [John Pacenti, Daily Business Review via Radley Balko]


1 Mark Biggar 10.20.10 at 1:33 pm

Mythbusters did this one. They showed that eating one poppy seed bagel will cause a positive test using most of the common quick drug tests for opiates.

2 Platy 10.20.10 at 3:54 pm

Funny, because I was assured years ago, before a preemployment screening, that poppy seeds were undetectable. I wonder how many people would find themselves out of work if controlled substances were suddenly decriminalized.

3 Shelly 10.20.10 at 4:08 pm

One time I went to my family doctor for a check up. They said they had a manditory drug testing policy. After I took the test, the doctor came in acousing me of smoking THC. I haven never smoked that stuff in fact I stayed away from people who done it. I was so embrassed and upset.

I believe the story because it happened to me.

4 Foxfier 10.20.10 at 5:34 pm

they may have been using a different tes

5 kat 10.20.10 at 5:37 pm

One of the interesting, and frightening, aspects of the story is that the level she tested at did not actually qualify as a positive drug test under the applicable guidelines. The person in charge of the program did not even know what constituted a positive test under the program’s own guidelines.

6 imsadriver 10.20.10 at 6:22 pm

So, here is a girl who did wrong, served her sentence and because of a bagel she needs to do more time at taxpayer expense (about $100K) to “teach her a lesson”. She works at a drug rehab….pays taxes. And now she should go to jail because she ate a bagel? Smart!

7 Bruce Lagasse 10.21.10 at 1:13 am

So now that Seinfeld episode can use the sub-head “Based on a true story! Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent!”

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