Earlier this month, pregnant mother Elizabeth Dominguez, 29, tested positive for opium during a drug test administered by a Niagra Falls hospital before going into labor.
She was separated from her newborn son until officials confirmed that it was a false positive. The culprit: A poppy seed bagel.
But poppy seeds aren’t the only ingredient that could show up on a toxicology screen. Next time you’re vying for a new job, headed to the doctor or even driving — lest you be pulled over at a late-night traffic stop — plant to avoid these foods
The prickly Asian fruit is notorious for its offensive stench — one so strong that even Breathalyzers react.
Last month, police stopped a man in the Jiangsu province of China for what they suspected was drunk driving. He failed a Breathalyzer test — but claimed that it was from durian, not alcohol. He was soon exonerated with a blood test.
Local police wanted to know more about durian’s impact on blood-alcohol levels. So an officer ate the fruit, Breathalyzed himself — and blew a .036%, which is .016 percentage points above China’s legal limit.
When the officer retested three minutes later, the alcohol reading disappeared.
Experts say this is likely due to lingering “mouth alcohol,” which may occur after eating ripe fruit, drinking juice or after rinsing with an alcohol-based mouthwash.
Breads and pastries
Most baked goods are made with yeast, which ferments in the dough and produces a small amount of alcohol. It’s not enough to get you drunk, but, according to Canada-based Breathalyzer manufacturer LifeSafer, the dough stuck in your teeth following a bready snack could be enough to register on its breath test.
The company also calls out vanilla extract, which is frequently used in baked desserts and contains at least 35% alcohol.
However, the effects should only last about 15 minutes before the residual alcohol dissipates, and swishing water can speed up the process.
Booze isn’t the only intoxicant to worry about in a gin and tonic. Liquor’s favorite mixer is made with small amounts of quinine, which has been known to show up in other illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Testing positive for quinine can be a red flag to authorities, and studies show that tonic consumption can tip the scale.
Hemp seed-based products such as hemp oil, milk or a seedy granola may be perfectly legitimate, but they can contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive ingredient in weed.
It’s not nearly enough to feel a buzz, but if you consume hemp-based foods regularly, that THC can build up in your body’s fat cells — and drug tests can’t tell the difference between that and THC from recreational pot.
THC can linger in human fat for up to about 45 days, so it’s best to avoid these foods for at least a month before a scheduled screening.
Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, should not pose an issue as standard drug tests are only checking for THC.
Hemp seed oil is also sometimes used to produce B12 supplements, also known as riboflavin.
There are a number medicines and vitamin pills that could trigger a false positive. Over-the-counter cough suppressants containing dextromethorphan, such as DayQuil, have been associated with false positives for phencyclidine (PCP).
The pseudoephedrine found in decongestants such as Sudafed resembles illegal amphetamines.
Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS may produce false positives for THC.
Some dietary supplements, especially sports enhancers, are known to contain controlled substances such as ephedrine and other drugs associated with “doping” in athletes, such as the steroid hormone androstenedione.