15 November 2022

Update: WA Health warning on poppy seeds

People are being advised to avoid eating – and discard – certain poppy seeds following a national product recall.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is coordinating removal of the affected products from supermarket shelves after toxicity symptoms were observed in people who had consumed poppy seed tea – brewed using large quantities of poppy seeds.

Consumers should check the affected products on the FSANZ website. Anyone with recalled batches of poppy seeds should throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. The website will be updated should further affected brands or batches be identified.

Along with cases reported nationally, two Western Australians suffered severe reactions soon after ingesting large quantities of poppy seeds in poppy seed tea. They have both since recovered.

Investigations indicate the presence of unusually high levels of a naturally occurring chemical (thebaine) in the poppy seeds is likely causing this toxicity.

WA Health’s Director of Environmental Health, Dr Michael Lindsay said, given the uncertainties about the affected poppy seeds, the public should avoid consuming poppy seeds in large quantities or brewing poppy seed tea until the investigation is complete.

“Anyone who consumes poppy seeds and experiences any unusual and severe symptoms should seek urgent medical assistance,” he said.

“This may include seizures, severe muscle pains, severe muscle spasms, cramping, stiffness or abnormal movements.”

For help:

  • Call Triple Zero (000) for emergency assistance
  • Go to your nearest emergency department
  • Call the WA Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26)
  • If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or drug use, call DirectLine on 1800 888 236 or visit directline.org.au for information and support to access treatment

WA Health continues to work with other jurisdictions on this investigation.

Media contact: 9222 4333

Follow us on Twitter: @WAHealth