Health for humans, animals & plants

Morphine in poppy seeds - monitoring

Final report of the priority action A-047-18

The objective of the focus action was to examine poppy seeds for the content of morphine and codeine for data collection. In addition, the examination of cadmium was necessary due to the climatic conditions in summer 2018. 25 samples from all over Austria were examined. As this was a monitoring action, no sample was objected to.

  • In one sample, the acute reference dose for morphine and codeine was exceeded, taking into account a plausible consumption quantity. The acute reference dose (ARfD) is the amount of substance per kg body weight that can be ingested with food in one meal or within one day without an identifiable risk to humans.
  • The action value for cadmium of 0.8 mg/kg was exceeded in three samples. Action levels are used by competent authorities and food business operators to identify those cases where a source of contamination is identified and action is taken to correct deficiencies or reduce risks.

Poppy seeds are obtained from opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.). They are used in baked goods, as decorations on foods, for cake fillings and desserts, and to make cooking oil. The opium poppy plant contains narcotic alkaloids such as morphine and codeine. A maximum level for morphine/codeine is therefore being discussed in the EU.

Cadmium is absorbed by the plant through the soil. Due to the dry summer, cadmium levels in poppy seeds are suspected to be elevated.

Last updated: 18.07.2022

automatically translated

Jump to top