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Contaminated Human Breast Milk Sold Online

Danielle Tarasiuk |
October 21, 2013 | 6:13 p.m. PDT

Senior Reporter

(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)
Some new mothers, who cannot produce their own breast milk turn to online resources such as, OnlyTheBreast.com. But new research shows that 75 percent of human milk bought through similar websites were contaminated with dangerous bacteria. 

From NBC News: 

That’s according to Sarah A. Keim, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where her team purchased more than 100 samples of human milk last year, compared them to unpasteurized samples donated to a milk bank and then tested them for safety. She's the lead author of a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. 

“I can’t think of something you can buy online where you have less ability to validate the quality,” Keim told NBC News. “Even frozen milk was just as contaminated as thawed milk. There wasn’t a whole lot recipients can rely on to know that it’s OK.”

Keim decided to analyze breast milk samples after noticing more online sites offering human milk to buy, sell or donate. That's far different from the network of organized milk banks that typically provide screened and pasteurized donor milk to babies with medical conditions.

In 2011, as many as 13,000 people posted on the four top sites offering to broker milk deals, Keim said. Most postings were from new moms who couldn’t produce enough milk to feed their babies themselves but wanted the benefits of breast milk.

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