Poppy seed bagels led to positive drug tests in pregnant NJ women

Xavier Roger


  • Two women in New Jersey ate poppy seed bagels before going to the hospital to give birth. They then tested positive for drug use, according to complaints filed by the ACLU.
  • Both infants tested negative for opiates. Yet, because of the women’s positive tests due to the poppy seeds, they were reported for possible abuse or neglect.
  • The ACLU says that these drug policies are discriminatory and devastating to impacted pregnant individuals, who fear they will be stigmatized by medical providers.

Just before rushing to different hospitals to give birth, two women who did not know each other ate bagels that contained poppy seeds. Both were shocked to learn the hospitals tested them for illicit drugs and reported them for possible abuse or neglect, according to their complaints.

Both tested positive for drug use due to the poppy seeds, stated their complaints filed with the state. Now the two New Jersey women are looking to affect policy changes on how hospitals handle drug testing.

The lawsuit accuses Hackensack University Medical Center and Virtua Voorhees Hospital of drug testing the two women without their knowledge or consent when they arrived to give birth. They claim the hospitals’ practice of drug testing pregnant individuals is a violation of the state’s Law Against Discrimination on the basis of sex and pregnancy discrimination.


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