(From the February 2014 issue of Research Now)
Dr. Sarah Keim is leading a program of research with investigators from Cincinnati Children’s Center for Breastfeeding Medicine and the Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity at Ohio State to explore the risk of sharing human milk. The research team purchased human milk via a popular US milk-sharing website and compared the internet milk samples with unpasteurized milk samples donated to a milk bank. Characteristics of shipping, packaging and the milk (i.e.., surface temperature) were documented: 89%of the milk arrived above the recommended frozen temperature of -20°C; 45% above the recommended refrigerator temperature 4°C.
Milk was also analyzed for microbial contamination. Human milk purchased via the internet exhibited high overall bacterial growth and frequent contamination with pathogenic bacteria, reflecting poor collection, storage, and/or shipping practices.
Dr. Keim has received funding to continue the work by testing the milk for illicit and prescription drugs and testing for the presence of human and/or bovine DNA in the milk.
Keim SA, Hogan JS, McNamara KA, Gudimetla V, Dillon CE, Kwiek JJ, Geraghty SR. Microbial contamination of human milk purchased via the internet. Pediatrics. 2013 Nov, 132(5):e1227-35. Epub 2013 Oct 21.
Keim SA, McNamara KA, Jayadeva CM, Braun AC, Dillon CE, Geraghty SR. Breast milk sharing via the internet: The practice and health and safety considerations. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2013 Oct 25. [Epub ahead of print]
Geraghty SR, McNamara KA, Dillon CE, Hogan JS, Kwiek JJ, Keim SA. Buying human milk via the internet: Just a click away. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2013 Dec, 8:474-8. Epub 2013 Aug 24.