Pentagon Tells Military Members to Stop Eating Poppy Seeds

| February 22, 2023

Pentagon to Military Members: Stop Eating Poppy Seeds
They could cause a failed drug test, memo warns

By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2023

It’s a lesson that Elaine learned the hard way—and one that’s not purely the stuff of TV lore. In a Feb. 17 memo, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros warned service members of the potential perils posed by poppy seeds as they relate to drug testing. “Poppy seeds are naturally sourced from the poppy plant,” the Department of Defense memo reads, and “may be contaminated during harvest with morphine and codeine,” both drugs in the opioid family. The Hill cites the US Anti-Doping Agency, which clarifies that the seeds can absorb opium extract during harvest.

Per the memo, “recent data suggests certain poppy seed varieties may have higher codeine contamination than previously reported.” As such, eating them could result in a codeine-positive urinalysis result and present as a failed drug test. The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon learned of the issue last year and had a lab analyze the codeine and morphine levels in various poppy seed brands. Cisneros’ advice to service members, who are required to undergo random urinalysis testing: Cease all consumption of poppy seeds in food products, including baked goods. (A poppy seed bagel led to a traumatizing ordeal for one mom.)

Since this was documented in a memo, can they throw a servicemember out for eating a muffin?   Asking for a friend.

Category: "Teh Stoopid"

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Depends who’s muffin they eat?

(I’ll show myself out now)


“He said you ain’t seen nothin’ ’til you’re down on a muffin
Then you’re sure to be a changin’ your ways”


This is still a thing? Thought it was BS the first time around.


We said the SAME thing, AW1Ed…

Getting Old.

Similar to showing up on DA FORM 6, The Dreaded Duty Roster….







Back in your cage, Doggie.


Sooo, what you’re saying, ninja, is that the Merciless Task Mistress DA Form 6 is still making a Daily Assignment for someone to be “that guy”? And the new Danger Zone is going all Maverick, flying into the C Store, goosing a to go muffin, and having a latte on ice, man? Things sure have advanced from C-Rat Instant Sanka and canned pound cake.





Pound cake and peaches! Awesome!

Daisy Cutter

They actually proved it was possible to pop positive on a test on an episode of “MythBusters.”


There is truth to it with the old tests, I popped positive for Opiates in 1976. Everyone in my company knew it was BS. Got a retest and then had to go to drug “Counseling” for a day waiting for the results. The sergeant took one look at me compared to the rest of the group, stoners all, and his line was oh no not again.


Ed, it’s been around decades. One way we used to gain access to doctors in military hospitals was to take in baked goods for their morning breaks. As soon as piss testing became a thing, a lot of docs and other medical personnel would no longer touch anything with poppy seeds.


The warning about poppy seeds have been going on for years…Nothing new…

And in the meantime, our Borders are still open for Illegal Aliens and Fentanyl to come into our Country, our Tax Dollars are going to support Ukraine instead of supporting our own Backyard…and Brandon Boy has yet to take a Cognitive Test, but can stage a visit to Ukraine with fake air raid siren sounds for dramatic effect:


PINO has another stumbling episode climbing up stairs. 45 was mercilessly mocked for walking very slowly down a wet ramp at West Point. Yeah, even Bite-me got in a jab.
Biden stumbles up Air Force One stairs again leaving Poland | New York Post – YouTube


I just don’t get why they don’t have someone assigned to helping him up and down the stairs. Falling and breaking a hip is not dignified for a national leader FFS.

Alternatively, Ol’ Slow Joe could learn how to play it off. If he pretended to pick sometime up or tie his shoe while he was down there, he wouldn’t look like such an idiot.

He won’t do either, because looking like an idiot is Biden’s most favorite hobby.


I recall hearing about poppy seeds back in the late 70’s.


“MRE Dessert – Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake (Trans Fat Free)”


Is “trans-fat” just fat that identifies outside of their biological sex?


It’s a Pound Cake, depends which side you pound in an intersectional trans-fat way…



Daisy Cutter

1SG: Private, you popped positive. You want to explain yourself?

PVT: Yes, I snorted Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake crumbs off a stripper’s backside.


Just FYI, Yeah, I ate that. I never thought about that but that’s been around since drug tests started.
Looks like the last time it was offered was 2019 which is surprising.
These menu items
9) Beef Stew
10) Chili and Macaroni
21) Lemon Pepper Tuna
24) Southwest Beef and Black Beans

(with Pound Cake, one of these 3 flavors.)
3/ Vanilla, Lemon Poppy Seed, Marble & Applesauce


It seems it was still offered with Chili Mac (menu 10) in 2022 and now in 2023. I retired in 2022 and don’t believe I’ve ever seen an MRE that was less than 8 years old, so I had to check.

You cannot have a modern American military without chili mac, just like we couldn’t have won either world war without shit on a shingle.


From 2014:

“Do Poppy Seeds Contain A Substance That Is Prohibited In Sport?”


I thought that modern drug testing had advanced well beyond the “poppy seed muffin” defense. At least that’s what they taught me when I was honored to be selected as “unit prevention leader”.


Same here, but it’s been a while, maybe they changed the testing protocols…

Call me jaded, but I imagine they are scapegoating poppyseeds for a recent uptick in opioid abuse in the ranks.


Could be, but I’ve been in and out of the service for almost 30 years and I never ate anything with poppy seeds during my time in the military and VERY rarely even during a 10 year break in service. Old habits die hard and with regards to this, I always figured better safe than sorry.


Fair enough. I don’t honestly know, either way. I remember this question specifically came up during my UPL course and the nice civilian instructor (I forget which agency she was from) explained that the offender in-question would have to have eaten at least a few dozen poppyseed bagels or muffins within a day of the test for even trace amounts of opioids to show up.

That was probably 15 years back, and the tests and/or harvesting methods might have changed… it just doesn’t smell right that they would have forgotten to factor in the most common excuse given when a soldier pops hot for those substances.


I’m also willing to bet you never failed a drug test. Occam’s razor would suggest that’s because you avoided shooting heroin, not because you avoided eating poppy seeds.

*Cards on the table, I also avoided eating poppyseeds. When the army teaches me something, I always assume it’s heuristic rather than guaranteed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Hate_me

I thought the military tested this, as well as popping hot due to second hand smoke, 40 years ago and found out that they were both bogus.

Dennis - not chevy

When I was in high school (during the Nixon administration) I thought every bakery product had poppy seeds or so it seemed. The first time I went home on leave, my mother asked me to explain why I wouldn’t eat the poppy seed bagels she served with breakfast. At lunch, she asked me why I thought I was too good to eat the kaiser roll sammiches she made. I tried to explain; but it was like trying to talk a democrat out of a tax increase.
The real explanation was, my Wing Commander loved investigations. When enough of us young troops complained about the constant routine drug screenings, his idea of justice was to have everybody on the base aged 17 through 26 (E-1 to O-whatever) report for urinalysis on the same day. A lot of work got done that day.
I felt it it was easier and lead to less drama to just avoid poppy seeds.


It took ’em this long? Three bagels is enough to get called in for the blood test and a bunch of questions.

Green Thumb

Austin’s fat ass should just quit eating muffins.

Daisy Cutter

If you think about it, the drug testing in the military is the exact opposite of sports.

In sports, doing steroids is bad and will get you banned, but recreational drugs will get you a small slap on the wrist.

In the military, doing recreational drugs will get you thrown out. BUT, and here’s my point, they don’t test for someone having an unfair work advantage by using steroids. What if someone just can’t get enough work, completes every task and screams for more, works like an animal… something’s not right.

They won’t test you for having an unfair work advantage in the military, and people can probably get away with doing performance-enhancing drugs.

Green Thumb

Roids’ used to be overlooked in a lot of ways.

Always knew when dude was carrying around the large “specimen” er.., I mean half-gallon jug to collect the urine.


They at least used to be able to test for steroids if there is reasonable suspicion of abuse. I never saw it happen, but there was a way for CDRs to request a special test for steroids and other drugs not covered by the routine panel.

My guess is the need to jump through those hoops largely went away as they became more strict when dealing with domestic/workplace violence. It’s also difficult to tell, in a profession made up of 19yo men working out on a daily basis, who’s truly doping and who’s just being a dumb and angry 19yo.

Green Thumb

And the recently huge dude w/ the bad attitude w/ the domestic issues at home or behaviour on the town.


Those tests aren’t cheap. There are faster, less expensive, and less tedious ways to remove some dude exhibiting roid-rage issues.

Also, especially among teenaged men, it is much easier to gain mass both quickly and cleanly than many often realize. It doesn’t happen on the PT field doing whatever the current PRT doctrine is, it happens with a few simple barbell lifts with heavy weights in the gym either at lunch or after release, and with eating a good deal of food.

The ones serious enough about their “gains” to invest the money and risk careers on steroids usually aren’t (emphasis on usually) the ones undoing everything they just did at the gym by getting wasted at the local dive.

Green Thumb

This was also 20 + years ago.

Been a few….


Back in the 90s we did it to a few folks. Yeah, it was an extra block check on the “special test”. Funny thing was, the guy they thought was juicing was doing the healthy eating and lifting right (he wanted to be a body builder), and the guy that was getting fat but angry all the time turned out to be the juicer.
I don’t think they do it all the time because it is expensive.


Far too many people have the misconception that one can just do steroids and look like Arnold… without any of the hard work. But they only can enhance (or destroy, if not cycled properly) a good program, all they do on their own is throw off natural hormone levels.

Personally (though I have never used them, myself), I’d prefer to see anabolic steroids legalized, so their use can be properly overseen by qualified professionals rather than some random locker-room dude whose access to the drugs matters more than their knowledge of physiology.

Green Thumb

I remember this myth.

Just like the contact high. Yeah. Heard that many times from the meat gazers as dudes were about to piss.

Curious as if Fartkocker Austin and Secretary Clueless Warmouth are about to lower the standards even more to increase both retention and equity.

Dave Hardin

Damn shame what all this drug testing has done. Used to be a place in Oki outside Butler that had some really good “tea”. And, outside Subic you got a room for a month and lots of “happy meals” with special delivery for $35 a month. Court Street at Swamp Lagoon had microdot as a condiment. There was a cross eyed stripper at Driftwood that would… well I am getting off topic.

The Gauchos at Vieques always had a good time going on. I honestly thought the Marine Corps was an amusement park and we didnt have to pay for the rides during the 70’s.

Now days offering Skittles for a blowjob is treated as if it were a bad thing. Those were the days my friend.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave Hardin

For the folks keeping score at home that’s:

Poppy seeds = bad.
Experimental (totally safe, wink) injections for a bad cold with a >99.8% survival rate = good.

Next the 5-sided puzzle palace will be offering a free trip to Joe and Pete’s Bed and Breakfast on Rainbow Sheen Lake outside of E. Palestine* for R&R as a reward for going 10-for-10 not melting the GD cup.

With ‘leadership’ like this…

Someone start another dumb fucking war to distract Austin and his poodles before these 0 and 4 idiots come up with any more brilliant memorandums.

*watching that HBO mini series on the 1986 event in Soviet Ukraine. I’m now referring to this latest fuck up by Commander-in-Thief Poopy Pants’ incident as his “ChernOHIObyl”. Feel free to use that.


This guy beat me to it by 10 days.

I doff my sombrero.



Apologies in advance. Memorandums is technically correct – according to the same folks who don’t want third graders learning cursive.


That’s what I had first! On a reread my latin training tried to -ae it. I corrected it back and forth 3 or 4 times from -a to -ums. Relented, checked the Mac onboard dickshunairy…

I chose wrongly.
Thanks for the data!

If you’ll excuse me my MacBook needs some corrective training.

USMCMSgt (Ret)

Here’s hoping the Defense Commissary Agency received the memo. Last time I checked, they sell a lot of products that sell poppy seeds…so they should be removed from the shelves (or something…).

//sarc off//


I did UADC (82nd Jumping Junkies) for a few years, “I had a poppy seed bagel, that’s why I pissed HOT” next I would explain that weed or nose candy don’t come from poppy seeds.


Cheech and Chong taught the troops well.


I have seen quite a few barracks lawyers pull a similar memo out of their binder to help a fellow who came up “hot” on the Urinalysis Test.
Had a Soldier from Columbia come up hot, for cocaine, after visiting home…claimed it must be the tea that his grandma served!
Saw the testing, that showed in order to have enough opium in your system from eating poppy seeds, you need to eat one metric ton of the stuff! Seems like a lot of bagels….
Now the rational that they get contaminated would imply that the same people that are harvesting them for opium are also harvesting poppy seeds…I was under the impression that one makes the other not happen! But I just asked the local farmer in southern Afghanistan who had been doing it for his entire life!

Last edited 1 year ago by MIRanger