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Study shows buying breast milk online is likely to cause illness in infants
Date:10/20/2013

pasteurized milk from carefully screened donors to fragile and sick infants. Because the milk banks pasteurize their milk, harmful bacteria are killed before the milk reaches an infant, unlike milk purchased online. Even before pasteurization, the milk bank samples were less likely to contain several types of bacteria and had lower bacterial growth in many instances.

Shipping practices also played a role in the levels of bacteria in the milk purchased online. The longer the shipping time, the more contaminated the milk. Nineteen percent of sellers did not include dry ice or another cooling method, and the temperature of the milk was outside of recommended range for storage. Researchers found particularly high levels of one or more types of bacteria in 17 percent of the samples.

Information provided by sellers in their classified ads online, such as "I eat an organic diet" or "great quality" had no direct implication on the safety of the breast milk. However, sellers often did not include information about the use of hygienic milk handling or storage practices, screening for diseases transmissible by milk, or limiting or abstaining from legal or illegal drugs.

"Major milk-sharing websites post a lot of guidance about milk collection, storage, shipping and provider screening. However, results from this study showed sellers do not often follow this advice because hygiene and shipping practices were often compromised," said Dr. Keim, also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Based on our research, it is not safe to buy breast milk online, and the Food and Drug Administration recommends against sharing milk obtained in that way. Recipients are not able to determine for sure if the milk has been tampered with, or contains harmful drugs or pharmaceuticals, or if the information the provider supplied about their health was truthful."

According to Dr. Keim, it is difficult to know if a particular infant
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Contact: Gina Bericchia
Gina.Bericchia@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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