Different countries have different fair use policies; medicinal, cooking spice, versus contraband/ intoxicant usage.


They are widely used in cuisines across the globe.



There might be nations where it's easier to buy a local 'legally certified' supply / packet than to fly in with your own.

From Wikipedia and other googling I find that Singapore, UAE & some middle eastern nations deem it as illegal.


Are there any another places/ nations where carrying this as a food cooking spice could/ would be illegal and/ or risky?

  • 5
    Some recipees use so much poppyseed that it is suspected to drive you over the drugs test amounts, this looks like one of them: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppy_seed_roll
    – Willeke
    Jan 16, 2016 at 11:04
  • @Willeke - Ha ha! Probably wont be using it that way - Its a natural coolant for "heat" in the body, hence added to certain recipes as a cooling agent. And syrup sherbet in summers.
    – Alex S
    Jan 16, 2016 at 11:12
  • We Hungarians like our poppy seed pastries! In a classic poppy seed strudel, grocceni.com/recipes/poppyseedstrudel.html about a third of the total weight is just poppy seeds.
    – user4188
    Jan 16, 2016 at 16:46
  • 3
    If in doubt, leave it out. You have to be pretty passionate about poppy seeds to risk drug entanglement with foreign authorities. Even quantities that are within regulation may result in lengthy interviews and searches. Authorities can almost refuse entry for whatever pretty much any reason. You can sometimes complain after the fact, but what good does that do?
    – Hilmar
    Jan 29, 2016 at 10:09
  • @Hilmar - I am curious to get clarity here. Khus is used as a common spice in cooking & for health reseasons and we recently read of a guy getting 10 years jail for it. A small oversight. There are many students who travel abroad every year and mothers pack spices & foods for them. So, the question. Knowing where one has to be extra careful
    – Alex S
    Jan 29, 2016 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


Where Is it Illegal to Import Poppy Seeds?

This list is by no means comprehensive as regulations may vary over time.


  1. I would like to know if I am allowed to bring poppy seeds into Singapore for my baking business.

Poppy seeds are classified as prohibited goods by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). Any company or person who wishes to import them or any foodstuff that contain the substance (regardless of the amount or purpose) must submit the Inward Declaration Form which can also be downloaded from http://www.cnb.gov.sg/Libraries/CNB_MediaLibrary_Files/Declaration_Form.sflb.ashx together with a certificate from the exporting country or the country of origin of the poppy seeds.

United Arab Emirates

Besides the narcotics listed, all other recreational drugs including cocaine, heroin, cannabis and opiates and its derivatives are banned. Be careful of carrying in poppy seeds which are banned, so avoid accidentally carrying bakery products that might contain such seeds. Also banned is qat leaf, betel leaf or nuts, niswar, gutkha, which while admissible in some countries is not permitted in the UAE.

Saudi Arabia

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This was sadly illustrated to two Indian pilgrims from Gujarat. In their luggage they had 250 grams of poppy seeds (khaskhas) which resulted in their being arrested. Neither knew that the substance was banned in Saudi Arabia and both said that they had brought it for use in cooking while they were here.



Articles listed below cannot be imported:


  1. Opium, poppy seeds, cannabis and cocaine seeds, or narcotics drugs which are listed in the “Law for the Control of Narcotics” and their derivatives and products.

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