Three Things You Need To Know About Kaiser Bun Toppings

If you're a bakery or deli owner and are about to switch to kaiser rolls for sandwich buns, you'll see you have a choice regarding the toppings the bun can come with. You may want to consider having buns with different topping options available -- and you may want to make special arrangements for storing some of the buns. Kaiser buns offer a pretty alternative to bagels and bread for sandwiches, so offering them is a nice move. But keep these three issues about the roll toppings in mind as you finalize which ones you're going to get.

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Toppings for the buns are usually small seeds, such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and occasionally small pumpkin seeds. The smaller seeds, like poppy seeds, can be an irritant to someone who has diverticulosis or its more serious cousin, diverticulitis. In these conditions, small seeds can irritate the lining of the colon and inflame pockets called diverticula. (Diverticulosis is when you have the pockets, and diverticulitis is when the pockets become inflamed, painful, and bleeding-prone.)

That impacts you because you're going to eliminate a number of customers who can't eat buns that have seeds on them. It would be a good idea to either choose plain kaiser rolls for your establishment or to have plain as an option. Many places offer only topped rolls, making people who have diverticulosis/itis wary about eating at the establishment.

This might not seem like such a problem if the rolls are only one option -- someone could choose plain bread if only the kaiser rolls had seeds. Yet the mere presence can make customers less likely to want to eat at your business if they're really trying to avoid a problem.

The Poppy Seed Problem

And speaking of problems, poppy seeds as a topping might not be your friend, and you may want to consider not offering them if your customers tend to work for companies that do random drug testing. An urban legend about poppy seeds says that eating the seeds, such as on a bagel or roll, can make you test positive for drugs.

However, this is one of those legends that has a distinct basis in fact. If you eat something with poppy seeds and then take a drug test, your results will likely be positive for opiates because of the morphine content in the seeds. The effect does fade over time, and the amount of morphine from a bunch of seeds is way less than what you'd get from using actual morphine; in fact, drug test standards were relaxed a few years ago to account for people who'd eaten poppy seeds but not used drugs. Still, because of the potential for confusion, it's best to offer roll options that don't contain poppy seeds.


An issue that's related to both the poppy seed and diverticulitis problems is cross-contamination. Seeds get everywhere. They don't stay nicely embedded in the bread. That makes it easy for seeds to fall into other foods, increasing the chances of someone having an allergic reaction when eating a food that doesn't normally contain the seeds. Someone who has diverticulosis and who has taken a chance by eating at your business could have a problem if some seeds fell into one of the sauces, for example, and ended up on their supposedly seed-free sandwich. The solutions to this problem are to either not offer seed toppings (have plain rolls only), or to store and prepare seeded buns away from non-seeded foods.

You don't need to avoid kaiser rolls completely, of course. Plain rolls are delicious, and if your food prep counter is big enough, you could create a dedicated seeded-bread preparation station. But do give serious consideration to your customers' health and employment issues when choosing which types of kaiser rolls you're going to have.