REPORT: Online Breast Milk ‘Dangerous’ to Infants

Posted at: 10/21/2013 6:20 PM
By: Sean Boswell

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A new study by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital shows that 75 percent of breast milk purchased online is contaminated. Some bacteria found in the milk is potentially life-threatening to infants.

“If you are someone who wants to access these sites, or are thinking of actually procuring milk from these websites, you really have to think about that. How safe is this product that I’m going to feed my baby?” said Michelle Medina, a pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic.

In 2010, the FDA warned against purchasing or obtaining breast milk from online donors.

“Certainly, breast milk is the preferred choice to feed infants, but that wouldn’t be the best choice of way to obtain it,” said Wendy O’Leary, with the Women, Infant and Children’s Program (WIC).

“(Breast milk gives) reduced risk of respiratory illness, reduced risk of diarrhea, allergies, certain childhood cancers, obesity and diabetes,” said O’Leary.

O’Leary says there is a safe alternative for mothers who need to obtain breast milk, the Human Milk Banking of North America.

“They screen the donors and they pasteurize the breast milk before it is given to anyone. So that is a safe alternative to getting breast milk from someone you don’t know online,” said O’Leary.