Cow’s Milk Found in Breast Milk Sold Online

A recent study shows 10 percent of human breast milk purchased online is contaminated with traces of cow’s milk.

A new study shows 10 percent of human breast milk purchased online is contaminated with cow’s milk. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Most doctors agree that ‘breast is best.’ Breastfed babies have lower rates of respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma, digestive problems, childhood obesity, asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The public health message is being heard: in 2011 almost 80 percent of newborn U.S. infants were initially breastfed.

But sometimes mothers can’t breastfeed. They may not have sufficient milk production, or maybe their child is allergic to the ingredients in infant formula, so they seek an alternative: buying breast milk on the Internet.

“For an infant who is allergic to cow’s milk or failing to thrive because of formula, this is a huge public health problem.”

The FDA doesn’t approve. Breast milk purchased online isn’t always properly screened for infectious diseases, and it has a chance of being contaminated — with things like cow’s milk.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics reveals 10 percent of breast milk purchased online is contaminated with cow’s milk. A team at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio anonymously purchased 102 samples of milk advertised as breast milk online. They found 10 percent of bovine DNA in 10 of the samples.

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Mommy Wars, Redux: Let’s Hope Not

It’s the Time magazine cover that’s gone viral. A Los Angeles mother breast-feeds her 3-year-old.

Time’s Facebook page is already logging pro, con and grossed out comments.

These articles about attachment parenting have come in waves ever since Dr. Bill Sears wrote the book on the topic he named himself more than a decade ago.

The arguments — yea and nay — are the same now as they were then. But, geez that picture and provocative headline make you want to read the article, don’t they?

Alas the article is behind a paywall, but you can watch a 4 minute interview with the reporter talking about what she learned here:

Learn More:
KQED’s Forum will be discussing attachment parenting Friday, May 11 at 9am. Listen at, click “listen live.”