On­line breast milk may con­tain cow’s milk: study

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

One in 10 sam­ples of breast milk sold on the In­ter­net in the United States was found to be con­tam­i­nated with cow’s milk or for­mula, U.S. re­searchers said Mon­day.

The study in the jour­nal Pe­di­atrics raised new safety con­cerns about a prac­tice that many ex­perts al­ready dis­cour­age over the po­ten­tial for dan­ger to ba­bies’ health.

Re­searchers tested 102 sam­ples of breast milk ad­ver­tised on milk­shar­ing web­sites, fre­quented by moth­ers who want to buy breast milk for their in­fants.

They found that 11 of the sam­ples con­tained bovine DNA, and 10 of those had enough that it could not be con­sid­ered an ac­ci­den­tal con­tam­i­na­tion, sug­gest­ing that some sell­ers were adding cow’s milk in or­der to boost their vol­ume and prof­its.

“We found that one in ev­ery 10 sam­ples of breast milk pur­chased over the In­ter­net had sig­nif­i­cant amounts of cow’s milk added, and this poses a risk to in­fants with an al­lergy or in­tol­er­ance to cow’s milk,” said study au­thor Sarah Keim, of the Cen­ter for Biobe­hav­ioral Health in The Re­search In­sti­tute at Na­tion­wide Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Ohio.

“If a baby with cow’s milk al­lergy were to drink this milk, it could be very harm­ful.”

The same re­searchers have pre­vi­ously found that 21 per­cent of peo­ple who look for hu­man breast milk on­line do so be­cause their child has a med­i­cal con­di­tion, and 16 per­cent said they did so be­cause their in­fant could not drink for­mula.

They also found in pre­vi­ous re­search that more than 75 per­cent of milk sam­ples pur­chased on­line con­tained bac­te­rial or vi­ral con­tam­i­na­tion.

The U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion warned in 2010 that un­pas­teur­ized hu­man milk ob­tained from sources other than the baby’s mother could pose health risks.

“We were con­cerned that, be­cause money is ex­changed in th­ese trans­ac­tions, there might be an in­cen­tive to boost milk vol­umes in or­der to make more money,” said Keim.

“Moth­ers who con­sider pur­chas­ing breast milk over the In­ter­net should be­ware — when you ob­tain milk from an un­fa­mil­iar source, you can­not know for sure that what you are get­ting is safe for your baby.”

Other re­searchers on the team came from Ohio State Uni­ver­sity and Cincin­nati Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

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