An upstate New York woman was temporarily separated from her newborn after a drug test came back positive for opiates. It was shocking and confusing to the new mother, as she claimed to have not done any drugs.
The test was conducted in early May, right before Elizabeth Dominguez was set to be induced. After she submitted a urine sample, the doctors informed her about the test results. "I did a urine test and it came back that I tested positive for opiates," she told WKBW. "I called my husband freaking out saying, 'How is this possible?' I don’t do drugs."
It didn't take long for Dominguez's husband, Mark Dominguez, to offer an explanation: "He told me it must be from the bagel," she recalled.
Just hours before she went into labor, Dominguez reportedly stopped by an eatery in Tonawanda, New York, where she had an everything bagel with toasted cream cheese. It turns out the bagel was covered in poppy seeds, which are derived from a plant used to make opium.
"In some cases eating a large amount of poppy seed such as the kind found in a bagel has been shown to produce low levels of morphine and codeine in the urine," Dr. Michelle Rainka, a Clinical Pharmacist at DENT, told WKBW. "Potentially those seeds have not been washed and can contain that. ... Anywhere from one to three bagels with poppy seeds can produce positive tests on a urine toxicology."
But despite Dominguez's explanation, the hospital staff followed protocol and alerted Child Protective Services about the test results. She claimed CPS investigators began asking her scary questions, like where she would want her other children to go if they were taken away from her. After answering CPS' questions, Dominguez was eventually discharged, while the baby remained at the hospital to be monitored. The mother was reportedly separated from her child for less than 24 hours.
"I felt absolutely horrible. I felt like a terrible mother leaving him," she said. "I just want everyone to know that this could happen. It’s such a terrible thing and I don’t want it to happen to anyone."
According to the New York Post, further testing confirmed that the false positive was triggered by the poppy seed bagel. Dominguez is now warning other mothers to be aware of poppy seeds' potential impact on drug test results.
"All of this could have been so easily prevented," she told the Post. "I can’t believe stuff like this really happens. I use to love my everything bagels. I’m not sure I could ever stomach one again."