The Milk Talk

Breast milk sold online may be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, researchers have found.

After noticing more women offering to buy and sell breast milk over the Internet, researchers launched a study to see how safe that milk really is. They sent anonymous purchasing requests to about 500 sellers on a popular U.S. milk-sharing website. About half of the sellers answered, and finally about 100 milk shipments arrived.

“We found three quarters of the milk that we studied was contaminated, either with high levels of bacteria, or certain disease-causing bacteria, like the kind found in human waste,” said study author Sarah Keim, researcher at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio.

The breast milk was frequently contaminated with coliform bacteria, which are commonly used as indicators of the sanitary quality of food, and staphylococcus bacteria, which grow in improperly stored foods. Three samples were contaminated with Salmonella, according to the study published today (Oct. 21) in the journal Pediatrics. Top 7 Germs in Food that Make You Sick