A Maryland woman is blaming her false positive test for opiates on the breakfast she ate hours before giving birth.
Elizabeth Eden was in labor at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson last spring when doctors told her she tested positive for the drug. The new mother was shocked, especially when staff members told her she was being reported to the state.
"I was in labor. I was sitting in the bed. I was having contractions. I was on a Pitocin drip, and the doctor came in and said, 'You've tested positive for opiates,'" Eden described to WBAL-TV.
Confused, Eden wasn't sure what would have caused the false positive — but then she recalled the poppy seed bagel she had eaten earlier that day. Eden had learned in a school health class that eating poppy seeds could cause a false positive.
"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 told the news station.
For years, experts have confirmed that poppy seeds can register as opiates in urine samples, as long as they were eaten within 48 hours of the test.
"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. "Opium is the milky substance that is extracted along with the poppy seeds from the seed pod of the opium poppy after all the petals have fallen off."
Therefore, it's possible for people to have a false positive test for the drug after consuming poppy seed-covered pasteries.
The test result meant Eden's daughter had to stay in the hospital for five days in April while her mother was assigned a case worker. Eventually, after Eden explained the situation, the case worker closed the case.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment writes that until food manufacturers reduce morphine levels in poppy seeds, it advises against excessive consumption, particularly during pregnancy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.