Mom Eats Bagel, County Takes Baby
She gets $143K payout over poppy-seed mix-up
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2013 1:21 AM CDT
Updated Jul 7, 2013 6:56 AM CDT
In a Seinfeld episode, Elaine tested positive for opiates after eating a poppy-seed bagel.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Pennsylvania mom has won a $143,500 payout after having her newborn taken away from her for five days in a bagel debacle that will be familiar to Seinfeld fans. The day after Elizabeth Mort took her daughter home, police officers and social workers came to her Lawrence County home without warning and seized the newborn because of a positive test for opiates caused by a poppy-seed bagel she had eaten hours before giving birth, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

From now on, health authorities will only report positive drug tests from the infant's first bowel movement, not from the mother's urine, the ACLU lawyer who represented Mort says. A judge ruled that the county's policy separating newborns from their mothers for no valid reason "shocks the conscience." Another woman whose newborn was placed in foster care for 75 days after a positive opiate test caused by poppy-seed salad dressing is also suing the county.

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Jul 8, 2013 5:22 PM CDT
I have a job requiring spontaneous drug tests and have been told by management to tell them if I ate a poppyseed muffin 24 hours previous, and they can run the appropriate test and rule out opiates. These idiots should know that. The overzealous idiots should lose their jobs and be sued.
Jul 8, 2013 2:32 PM CDT
The hospitals, as private entities, can test for whatever they want or whatever the patient agrees to; however, the second a government agency obtains the results of those tests without a warrant (with the warrant being based on information OTHER than the test itself), that's a violation of the patient's 4th amendment rights! Probably a HIPAA violation, too -- though perhaps not anymore with the Bummercare rules. Having said that, the mothers should refuse such tests...
Jul 7, 2013 7:19 PM CDT
Back in the '80's, I delivered bakery goods (bread, muffins, bagels,etc.) to a maximium security prison in Lompoc, California. We had to make sure we didn't deliver anything with popppyseeds in them, because of the drug testing that took place at the prison. Boy, what a spooky place that was!!!