Veteran BBC presenter Angela Rippon has found herself testing positive for opiates – after eating poppy seeds in a loaf of bread in the fourth series of Rip Off Britain: Food.
The test result picked up the presence of morphine, derived from opium, after she ate a load of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over the course of three days.
The poppy seed experiment came after a contributor to the programme told how he was fired from his job at a power station after a routine drug test showed opiates in his system.
Dumbfounded at first, he realised that the answer must be the poppy seed bread he’d eaten for his breakfast toast.
Danny Clarke is Operations Director for the ELAS Group. He says: “This episode highlights the need to take competent advice and follow robust testing procedures when conducting workplace drugs testing.
“An instant test result such as this will invariably be open to challenge due to the potential for this type of test to detect medications and supplements as much as illegal substances. This is why a chain of custody procedure, including analysis to confirm any non negative results, will always be required.
“Drugs testing on its own is only part of the solution. A drug and alcohol policy and comprehensive training from experts in the field will always be just as important.
“In this instance poppy seeds were identified by an opiates test, however, the initial cut off level was such that consumption of certain types would be above the cut off. Once test results are confirmed at a drug test laboratory, it’s possible to distinguish between dietary sources such as poppy seeds and illegal substances such as heroin, which the instant tests are unable to do.”