Alert: Severe reactions after consuming drinks made from poppy seeds
This alert was issued on the 12 November 2022 and remains current.
At least 19 people from across Australia have recently presented to hospital with severe poisoning after drinking home-made poppy seed tea. No cases have been reported in Tasmania.
Symptoms of poisoning have only been observed when people have purposely consumed drinks made from large amounts of poppy seeds. Reported symptoms are severe, including:
- severe muscle pain
- severe muscle spasm, cramping, stiffness or abnormal movements
- cardiac arrest
Preliminary investigation suggests that high levels of a naturally occurring chemical in the raw poppy seeds may be a factor.
There have been no cases of poisoning in people who have eaten poppy seeds as part of baked food products.
People making and drinking poppy seed tea should be aware of the significant dangers involved in this activity and note that an unusual dark brown colour and bitter taste in the wash/tea after brewing may indicate unusual toxicity.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any toxic effects following poppy seed consumption.
- Call Triple Zero (000) for emergency assistance
- Go to your nearest emergency department
- Call the Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26)