Why breast is best: Some online breast milk might contain cow’s milk

I’m grateful that all five of my daughters were breast-fed for varying lengths of time (because, every kid is different).

breast.feedingFor those who can’t breast feed, for whatever reason, I can see the appeal of buying breast milk from another source, but like any other food, there’s a lot of huckters and buskers out there.

Human breast milk has been sold online for years, and health experts have warned about possible dangers. Now they have a new warning: Some of the milk for sale isn’t strictly human — it’s been topped off with cow’s milk.

That milk could be dangerous for some babies, says Sarah Keim, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Keim led a study published Monday in Pediatrics that shows 10 out of 102 breast milk samples purchased online contained at least 10% cow’s milk. The added milk could have come straight from cartons or from baby formula, Keim says.

“It could be very harmful to babies with allergies or intolerance” to cow’s milk, she says.

In a previous study using the same samples, Keim found 75% were contaminated with viruses or bacteria.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned since 2010 that milk sold or shared online could be unsafe.

The samples in the study, purchased in 2012, came from several sites, Keim says, including one called Only The Breast that continues to operate and appears to be the leading site for such transactions. Other sites, such as Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies, facilitate the sharing of milk but discourage sales.

Restaurant inspection results now available on-line for London-lite

As of 10 a.m. EST today, residents of London-lite (Ontario) can access the results of restaurant inspections back to June 2009 on-line at http://inspection.healthunit.com

Two weeks ago, London Free Press reporter Jonathan Sher ran a piece noting that local health types had promised a public disclosure system similar to Toronto’s red, yellow, green 16 months ago. The health unit had gotten busy and key personnel had departed, all reasonable explanations.

On Feb 11/10, Sher ran another piece, which disclosed that London diners unknowingly ate at places last year where inspectors found horrors from flies to feces.

Health inspectors shut down seven restaurants last year in London for stomach-turning reasons including:

* Egg noodles bound for diners were picked at first by flies that descended on an open container on a kitchen floor.

* A ventilation hood dripped grease on the food beneath.

* A restaurant with no hot water still made food — just with no place for kitchen staff to wash their hands.

* Mouse-like feces found on plates, shelves, behind the stove, on kitchen floors and behind a walk-in freezer.

* Uncovered food found on a food-encrusted floor in a walk-in fridge.

* Rags dirty from raw and cooked foods left on cutting boards.

* A restaurant with many health violations, even though a staffer had just completed the health unit’s food handling course.

If this were Toronto, red signs would have warned diners the places had been closed for something more serious than a holiday or renovation.

I told Sher there’s no doubt signs and other methods of public disclosure drive restaurants to be more careful, and that,

"They up their game . . . they don’t want the publicity.”

Today, The Middlesex-London Health Unit has launched a new, online resource for information on city restaurants.

Amazing how fast these things move with a little publicity.