Study: Breast milk sold online could make babies sick - Dallas News |

Study: Breast milk sold online could make babies sick

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Online breast milk sharing is booming. But is it safe? A team of researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio went undercover. The researchers anonymously purchased 101 breast milk samples online and tested them in a lab.

What they found was alarming: three-fourths of the samples contained high amounts of bacteria that could make babies sick. The samples also often showed signs of poor collection, storage, or shipping practices, according to the study.

"We were surprised so many samples had such high bacterial counts and even fecal contamination in the milk, most likely from poor hand hygiene. We were also surprised a few samples contained salmonella," said Sarah Keim, Ph.D., the lead researcher. "Other harmful bacteria may have come from the use of either unclean containers or unsanitary breast milk pump parts."

The researchers said they are not sure how much breast milk is being bought and sold online but previous studies found 13,000 postings were placed on American websites in 2011. Many were online classified ads

A popular site, onlythebreast, is now phasing out its classifieds. The company told Fox 5 that "OTB is working hard to develop milk bank partnerships that empower donating women and their families, put into place robust donor screening programs, and embrace professional milk sharing measures."

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