Tuesday, March 15th 2011

This is a response to the original article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
Milk sharing: boon or biohazard?

Dear Lauren,

Please allow me to post some corrections.

Routine prenatal testing is inconclusive when it comes to safe milk sharing. It does not address every disease milk is typically screened for, and testing is primarily done at the beginning of pregnancy. Many opt out of HIV screening. Both HMBANA and UKAMB recommend testing every 3-6 months for HIV, HTLV, HBV, HCV, Syphilis and Rubella. These guidelines are followed by most milk banks.

The only country I know of that relies on donor screening alone is Norway. Milk banks generally also use the Holder method of pasteurization for safety.

Regarding pasteurizing breastmilk, flash-pasteurizing is a commercial method that requires special equipment and cannot be duplicated in a home setting. What can be done at home is called "flash-heating." The only virus that this method has demonstrated to inactivate is HIV. While flash-pasteurizing has shown to inactivate HIV, HTLV, HBV and HCV, and CMV as well as markers for many other viruses, the effectiveness of flash-heating on viruses other than HIV is theoretical.

It is important to note is that any pasteurizing of breastmilk raises the risk of spore release from spore-forming bacteria.

When mothers look for information for safe breastmilk sharing, it is important that all available information is presented. Deviation from standard is and should be a personal choice and not the only information given.

More information at www.eatsonfeetsresources.org

Currently, Eats on Feets is in the process of restructuring. Emma Kwasnica is no longer affiliated with Eats on Feets. We will soon present a press release.

Maria Armstrong
EOF Admin