U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recently introduced the Stephen Hacala Poppy Seed Safety Act. If passed, the legislation would prohibit the sale of poppy seeds that contain harmful levels of opiates and require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue regulations that establish a maximum level of contamination.

The bill is named after Stephen Hacala of Fayetteville, Arkansas, who died from morphine intoxication in April 2016 after ingesting unwashed poppy seeds containing high levels of morphine that he purchased from Amazon. As many as 20 other Americans have reportedly died from overdoses caused by poppy seeds sold directly to consumers that contained dangerous levels of morphine.

Although most poppy seeds are harmless, some manufacturers sell unwashed seeds that can be laced with lethal substances, sometimes containing more than 20 times the therapeutic dosage of morphine.

Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives