The Risk of Using Poppy Seed Tea Made from Several Varieties Available on the Romanian Market


Objective: the number of alkaloids like morphine and codeine found in poppy seeds used in food industry are monitored by a directive given by European Food Safety Authority. Based on this regulation the aim of the study was to determine the quantity of morphine and codeine from several brands of poppy seeds. Methods: an HPLC-UV method (205 nm) was developed to measure the quantity of morphine and codeine. Sample preparation was made using recipes posted on Drugs Forum by some users. Limits of detection were not determined because the lowest concentration from the reference (0.1 μg/ml) detected morphine concentrations that are far lower than a limit of toxicological concern. Results: The concentrations, which were found, ranged between Below the Level of Toxicological Concern (BLTC) - 243.26 mg/kg for morphine and BLTC - 88.58 mg/kg for codeine using several methods of preparation. Conclusions: one can observe that there are some brands of poppy seeds which do not respect the regulation about the amount of morphine and codeine. The high amount of morphine in some samples suggests that there are different varieties of poppy seeds, which can be used for an illicit purpose and can lead to addiction or even overdose in some cases.

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