There are many reasons that someone may want to purchase breast milk online; but typically it’s because mothers cannot produce enough or any breast milk themselves.
A new study published in Pediatrics, found that more than 10 percent of samples of breast milk bought online contained cow’s milk in significant quantities.
That can be a real problem for infants that cannot tolerate cow’s milk.
Researchers anonymously bought 102 samples from sites that use classified advertising to connect milk buyers with sellers. The sites are generally not involved in the transactions beyond helping make the initial connection.
They isolated mitochondrial DNA from the samples by polymerase chain reaction, the same technique used for forensic and medical purposes. Every sample contained human DNA, but 11 of them contained cow’s milk, 10 of them at levels higher than 10 percent.
“This was high enough to rule out minor or accidental contamination,” said the lead author, Sarah A. Keim, a principal investigator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “This is deliberate adulteration no matter how you look at it.”
Children under one-year-old should not be fed cow’s milk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.) Cow’s milk contains nutrients that are too high for a baby’s system such as protein, sodium and potassium. If breast milk is not available, infant formulas are a good substitute.
“In a previous study, we found that a fifth of these people were online because their infants were having trouble tolerating cow’s milk. Additionally, it is clearly not recommended for infants under 12 months to be on cow’s milk.” said Keim.
Much of online breast milk is unregulated and may contain bacteria, but there are certified milk-banks that are regulated and safe.
Source: Nicholas Bakalar, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/online-breast-milk-may-contain-cows-milk/?_r=0