Leave the poppy seed strudel at home if you’re heading to UAE

Yesterday, while wandering through Westside Market in Cleveland, I passed by several stalls laden with baked goods, some sporting poppy seed. The poppy seed strudel was mighty tempting. This brought to mind the sidebar I saw that was attached to the article about Michelle Palmer’s and Vince Acors escape from jail time in Dubai after they allegedly had sex on the beach.

Before Palmer and Acor’s legal woes in Dubai, there was an earlier account about how people who bring poppy seeds into the UAE can also meet serious trouble. There could be trouble even if there are only a few seeds dribbled on a coat after eating a bagel before heading off to Dubai. Iva posted on that very situation back in February. There was one Swiss person who had eaten a bagel with poppy seeds and was arrested.

While eyeing the poppy seed strudel and thinking how yummy it looked, I also remembered that poppy seeds are not allowed in Singapore either. At least, you couldn’t buy them when I lived there in the 1990s. Perhaps Singapore has loosened up, but I think not.

The issue with poppy seeds is the same issue in Dubai. Instead of baking with poppy seeds, people could just get a notion to turn them into opium. The thing is, from what I understand, opium is not made from poppy seeds, but from the unripe poppy seed pod. Eating poppy seeds, however, can result in a false positive for the drug. Tricky.

Because this is an older story, I checked the U.S. Department of State page on UAE to see if poppy seeds are still banned. Yes, they are. I looked on Singapore’s page to see if I could find out about poppy seeds. I couldn’t find a reference to them, but the don’ts in Singapore is a mighty hefty list.