Straightforward analytical method to determine opium alkaloids in poppy seeds and bakery products

Patricia Lopez Sanchez*, Diana P.K.H. Pereboom-de Fauw, Patrick P.J. Mulder, Martien Spanjer, Joyce de Stoppelaar, Hans G.J. Mol, Monique de Nijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


A straightforward method to determine the content of six opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine, noscapine, papaverine and narceine) in poppy seeds and bakery products was developed and validated down to a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.1 mg/kg. The method was based on extraction with acetonitrile/water/formic acid, ten-fold dilution and analysis by LC-MS/MS using a pH 10 carbonate buffer. The method was applied for the analysis of 41 samples collected in 2015 in the Netherlands and Germany. All samples contained morphine ranging from 0.2 to 240 mg/kg. The levels of codeine and thebaine ranged from below LOQ to 348 mg/kg and from below LOQ to 106 mg/kg, respectively. Sixty percent of the samples exceeded the guidance reference value of 4 mg/kg of morphine set by BfR in Germany, whereas 25% of the samples did not comply with the limits set for morphine, codeine, thebaine and noscapine by Hungarian legislation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-450
JournalFood Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Codeine
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Morphine
  • Narceine
  • Noscapine
  • Papaverine
  • Thebaine


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