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Canada Issues Warning About Buying Breast Milk

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A "performance art" exhibition last week in Canada called "the Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar" has prompted Canadian officials to warn against the practice of purchasing breast milk off the Internet.

Artist Jess Dobkin got a grant from the Canadian government to fund her exhibit, which invited viewers to sample breast milk donated by six different lactating women. The artist claimed that the milk was screened and pasteurized, but the exhibit still sparked concerns about the health risks of drinking breast milk from "unknown" sources.

What makes the story interesting is that health officials aren't simply concerned about parents buying breast milk online for their infants...they are concerned about adults buying breast milk online for the touted health benefits.

From the Earth Times:

The government is, however, concerned about the growing online sale of human milk as women try to buy breast milk if they are not able to produce it themselves. Breast milk is known to have rare properties and its consumption is recognized as the only way to pass on valuable nutrients and promote development among infants.

Health Canada is more worried that even adults may be buying human milk for their own consumption in view of its publicized immunological properties. There are several websites exclusively selling breast milk.

The story goes on to state that the government knows nothing about the amount of breast milk that may be being sold online, nor have they had any reports of anyone falling ill due to purchased breast milk.

That said, it's a good reminder that parents especially need to first look to the HMBANA approved milk banks for properly screened and pasteurized milk. Beyond that, it's best to work with a close friend or family member while keeping in mind that medical screening and home pasteurization are essential to the process.


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