MONDAY, April 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- About 10 percent of online human milk samples tested were contaminated with cow's milk in a recent study published online April 6 in Pediatrics.
Researchers bought 102 samples of advertised human milk online and tested the DNA in each one. They found that 10 samples were at least 10 percent cow's milk. "Human milk may be purposely 'topped off' with cow's milk or infant formula, and this could be harmful to babies receiving the purchased milk if they have cow's milk allergy or intolerance," lead author Sarah Keim, Ph.D., a researcher at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told HealthDay.
"There really is no way a parent can tell if the milk they buy online is safe and high-quality," Keim said. "Given the risks, it is not a good idea to feed your baby milk you purchase online." In a previous study, Keim and her colleagues found that breast milk samples bought online contained potentially harmful levels of bacteria and tested positive for cytomegalovirus.
Kim Updegrove, president of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, said purchasing milk outside of standardized human milk banks is risky. "When you have monetary incentive and you have women who may be desperate or may not know any better, you have a risk of getting something along with the milk you are purchasing," she told HealthDay. "It is important to applaud parents who want to do what's best for their babies, but to remind them that it's a body fluid, and body fluids can be dangerous."