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Why the military is warning poppy seeds could cause a readiness issue

West Point Graduation 2022
Posted at 11:21 AM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 12:12:09-05

The Department of Defense is advising service members to avoid consuming poppy seeds in all forms, including in food products and baked goods.

Poppy seeds are sourced from the poppy plant, which is cultivated by both the pharmaceutical and food industries. The DOD is concerned that some seeds may become contaminated with morphine and codeine, which would lead to a positive drug test.

A memorandum issued this month says recent data suggest certain poppy seed varieties may have higher codeine contamination than previously reported.

"Consumption of poppy seeds products could cause a codeine positive urinalysis and undermine the Department's ability to identify illicit drug use," said
Gilbert Cisneros Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Service members who received a positive drug test and believe it was due to poppy seeds are being told to consult with their local legal office.

Members of the military are subject to random drug tests. A positive result could lead to administrative and disciplinary actions.