Illinois law enforcement uses tests to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. These tests have their strengths and weaknesses. Today we will look at one unique weakness, which involves other substances interfering with results. 

IFL Science examines some of the food and drink that can directly influence a BAC test. These foods and drinks often involve fermentation or methyl that triggers a false positive. For example, honey buns and white bread contain fermenting yeast. This alone can raise your “mouth alcohol” level. Other potential triggering foods include: 

  • Macadamia nuts 
  • Pecans 
  • Ripe fruit 
  • Protein bars 

Triggering drinks also contain some type of fermentation or excessive sugar. A popular example is kombucha. Though this fermented tea does have trace amounts of alcohol, you are rarely carded when you purchase it. This is because the amount of alcohol is negligibly low. 

Non-consumable items containing alcohol can also invoke a false positive. This may include things you put in your mouth but do not swallow, like mouthwash or gum. It also includes things that you put around your mouth, like aftershave or lip gloss. 

Finally, cold and cough medications are another well-known trigger. Mouth alcohol levels are only impacted for a short while by food or drink. However, the impact of cough or cold medication can last for hours or longer. If you have been on these medicines for several days, even a blood alcohol test can be inaccurate. 

These are important things to keep in mind when considering BAC test results. Though it may seem cut-and-dried, that is not always the case.