Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose Alarmed Cow's Milk Taints Human Breast Milk

The executive director at Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose – the only such center in California - is alarmed, but not surprised, about a new study that shows more than one in 10 tested samples of breast milk bought online contained cow’s milk, somthing that could be dangerous for babies.

“The issue has always been, to us, is that they’re not regulated, no one’s watching,” Pauline Sakamoto said on Monday, in regard to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio breast-milk study. So, if a baby drank the milk and had a bad reaction, Sakamoto, said, “there’s no regulatory body that one can go to, to complain about the milk.”

The findings, published Monday in the journal, Pediatrics, illustrate the underlying profit motives that compel some women to peddle their breast milk at $1 o $2 an ounce. But what can be potentially harmful is that the mixing of cow’s milk can harm babies with dairy intolerance, especially preemies, doctors say. Most babies in the United States aren’t supposed to try cow milk until they are one years old.

At the non-profit Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose, workers conduct thorough blood tests on donors and then pasteurize the milk before selling it to parents who can’t produce their own breast milk.

The FDA recommends against feeding babies breast milk acquired through the Internet because it unlikely to have been properly screened for infectious diseases like HIV or chemical contaminants such as illegal drugs. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America has a list of non-profit milk bank locations on its website.

NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez and NBC News contributed to this report.

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