CHICAGO (AP) — An online breast milk exchange linked to bacteria contamination in a new study says it is changing its policies.
Researchers found high amounts of bacteria that could potentially sicken babies in three-fourths of samples they bought from women who advertised on the popular website, Only the Breast. A few of the 101 samples purchased contained salmonella, while others had evidence of fecal contamination, probably from breast milk sellers not properly washing their hands, said Sarah Keim, the lead author and a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The study was published online Monday in Pediatrics.
An unidentified administrator for the breast milk organization issued a statement over the weekend saying the Incline Village, Nev.,-based group is planning to stop informal “mother to mother” milk sharing and is forming a new milk bank program for sick babies that will involve better donor screening and “professional milk processing.”
“Donors will be fully screened, tested and instructed on safe handling methods,” and will be offered fair compensation, the statement said.
The statement didn’t indicate if the research prompted the changes and a spokesman did not return email and phone messages seeking additional comment on Monday.