Human milk from internet can make babies sick

babybottleBeware if you are buying human milk for your baby via the Internet.

In a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was found that human milk purchased on the internet often had high levels of bacteria and in a few cases was contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella.


Disease causing bacteria found in milk

Researchers in the study "Microbial Contamination of Human Milk Purchased via the Internet," purchased 102 cross-sectional samples of human milk through a popular U.S. milk-sharing website. The milk samples were sent to a rented mailbox in Ohio, and later compared with samples of unpasteurized, donated milk obtained through a milk bank.

Seventy-four percent of the Internet milk samples were colonized with high bacterial counts overall, or had at least some infection-causing bacteria; and 64 percent of the Internet samples tested positive for staphylococcous (a common bacteria that has the ability to make toxins responsible for food poisoning), compared to 25 percent of the milk bank samples. Three of the Internet samples were contaminated with Salmonella.

The high overall bacterial growth and frequent contamination with disease-causing bacteria in the Internet milk reflected poor collection, storage or shipping practices, according to the study authors. Infants consuming human milk purchased via the Internet are at risk for negative outcomes, especially premature infants and those with compromised immune systems.

The study authors recommend lactation support for mothers who want to provide breast milk to their infants but who have difficulty making enough. Women who have extra milk should consider donating to a milk bank.