advertisement
19 June 2015

Online breast milk trading carries serious health risks

Raw, unpasteurised human breast milk bought online can expose consumers to many serious infectious diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.

0

A growing online craze among some fitness communities, fetishists and chronic disease sufferers for buying and drinking human breast milk poses serious health risks, according to British experts.

Exposure to serious infectious diseases

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, specialists said there was little evidence to support claims that the milk – traded via websites in a lucrative market for adult buyers – is some kind of super food that can boost health and fitness and ward off disease.

Claims that it even helps with erectile dysfunction and cancer have no clinical basis, they said. On the contrary, the experts warned, raw and unpasteurised human breast milk bought online can expose consumers to many serious infectious diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.

It is also potentially very hazardous if used to replace a healthy balanced diet, Sarah Steele, a specialist at the global health and policy unit at Queen Mary University of London, wrote in the journal.

Nutritionally, she said, there is less protein in human breast milk than other milks like cow's milk.

Regular screening required

"Potential buyers should be made aware that no scientific study evidences that direct adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect," Steele said.

She added that failure of women to sanitise properly when producing milk, failure to sterilise equipment properly, and improper or prolonged storage and transportation of milk can also expose consumers to bacterial food-borne illnesses.

Read: Safety risks in food production

"While many online mums claim they have been tested for viruses during pregnancy, many do not realise that (such) screening needs to be undertaken regularly," Steele said.

"Sexual and other activities ... may expose the women to viruses that they may unwittingly pass on to consumers."

Read more:

Stored breast milk can become cytotoxic

Contaminated breast milk sold over internet

Breast milk contains more than 700 bacteria

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

ChildNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Are you sure? »

Aid your digestion What are digestive disorders?

Are you really constipated?

Many people think that if they do not have two or more bowel movements every single day of their lives they are constipated. This is patently not true, writes DietDoc.

True of False? »

SEE: How anaphylactic shock affects your body

Stop believing these 10 allergy myths

Do you still believe that hay fever is caused by hay? Or that food allergies are really common? No, and no again. We bust 10 myths about allergies.