LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning consumers about a lethal opioid that may be lurking in their kitchen pantries – unwashed poppy seeds.
After meeting with parents who lost a child to these seemingly innocent seeds, Attorney General Rutledge wants to ensure that all Arkansans are educated about the dangers. While washed poppy seeds are a safe and popular ingredient in everything from baked goods to salad dressings, some individuals are engaging in the dangerous behavior of making a “tea” with the unwashed seeds to settle their nerves or to get a high.
“The brewing and consumption of unwashed poppy seed tea is a dangerous trend with potentially lethal consequences,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unwashed poppy seeds are available from many online retailers and could be easily confused for the commonly-used washed variety. Arkansans should ensure that they are purchasing and using the correct variety of poppy seeds since the unwashed seeds can be dangerous, addictive and even lethal.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers shopping online who may have purchased unwashed poppy seeds instead of washed by mistake.
- Thoroughly review the order to ensure you are ordering the product(s) you searched for.
- Carefully research the product by reading manufacturer information, consumer reviews and other literature to determine whether the seeds are washed or unwashed.
- Read and understand the refund and shipping policies before you make your purchase. Look closely at disclosures about the seller’s refund and shipping policies.
- If possible, use credit cards for payment. Credit card purchases are the most secure and easiest to return. And under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you do not get what you were promised.
Arkansas consumers should also be aware of the overdose risks that may come with unwashed poppy seeds. Recent research found that the unwashed seeds can have an opium latex on them that is activated during the tea brewing process. Morphine levels vary widely among unwashed seeds, ranging from trace to lethal amounts, and consumers should be cautious and thoroughly research the products they are purchasing.
For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Press release – AG’s Office