Thursday, March 31st 2011

Dear Eats On Feets Friends and Family,

As you may be aware, a network called HM4HB (Human Milk 4 Human Babies) has publicly claimed that the Eats On Feets network has changed its name to HM4HB. This assertion is simply not true. Eats On Feets never changed its name and remains the same entity it has always been, doing what we have always done - supporting breastmilk sharing on a community level. HM4HB is a separate entity. EOF and I have no connection with HM4HB and HM4HB has no connection with EOF.

What precipitated the departure from EOF of those who are now operating as HM4HB was a fundamental disagreement over safety and informed choice issues. After Maria Armstrong and I began research into safe options for breastmilk sharing, it became clear to us that prenatal blood testing is insufficient as a tool for proper donor screening. We learned from the published research that for EOF to claim that stove-top flash heating inactivates viruses would be a misrepresentation of what flash heating can or cannot accomplish. The scientific research does not support claims that flash heating kills any viral pathogen other than HIV. We also learned from this research that any pasteurization of breastmilk carries certain risks, especially for premature or sick babies.

In order to provide families with useful resources for their own investigations, we changed our website to include this evidence-based research about proper blood screening, pasteurization, and the use of raw milk.

Trademarking the Eats On Feets name was necessary in order to protect use of the name in connection with all that it stands for -- that is, specifically, providing evidence-based information and research to the families that Eats On Feets serves, and providing a venue for commerce-free milk sharing on a local community level without centralized control. Having a trademark (actually, a "service mark," since what EOF does is a service, not a product) protects the name Eats On Feets from being used outside of these parameters, and assures that those who want to maintain Eats On Feets pages as administrators can retain their autonomy to run their respective pages as they see fit, within these parameters, without having to be "approved" by some central authority.

A group of former Eats On Feets page administrators did not agree with our research and the trademarking, and founded HM4HB. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with starting a new breastmilk sharing network. However, the page admins who left EOF publicly and falsely claimed that the Eats On Feets network had been renamed HM4HB, and they then proceeded to rename Eats On Feets pages or used the Eats On Feets pages to funnel EOF content to their new HM4HB pages, while locking the EOF pages for further posting -- all based upon a false assertion that the network had changed its name. When we realized what was happening, we believed there was no choice but to report the participating pages to Facebook because the name Eats On Feets was being misused and Eats On Feets content was being misappropriated and used by HM4HB, content which they had not created. Our chief concern, however, has been and continues to be that the name Eats On Feets not be associated with any network that does not provide the evidence-based researched information that we consider essential for true informed choice on the part of families who participate in breastmilk sharing. We do not want the name Eats On Feets associated with any safety claims that are not supported by evidence-based research.

Please accept our apologies for any confusion this may have caused and for our not having communicated with you sooner to explain what was happening. We are pleased that today, after this trying time, our website www.eatsonfeets.org now contains evidence-based information for milk sharing. We encourage you to visit that site, as well as the new Eats On Feets Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EatsOnFeetsHome where we facilitate the sharing of breastmilk and direct families to their local Eats On Feets page and/or to our new forum.

Shell Walker,
Eats On Feets Founder & Licensed Midwife

Questions? info@eatsonfeets.org