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Breast milk sold, donated online often tainted, study finds

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 21 2013 04:52:21 PM CDT

You can buy anything on the Internet these days, but according to a new study, some breast milk bought online may be contaminated.

You can buy anything on the Internet these days, but according to a new study, some breast milk bought online may be contaminated.

Kara Petroske, of Emmaus, Lehigh Co., has three small children. Her youngest is Paige.

Because of health problems, the Petroske kids have had to rely on the breast milk of more than 100 mothers. Kiera Lichtenwalner is one of them.

"My milk is helping more children grow out there. I have donated 11 gallons of milk," said Kiera Lichtenwalner, a breast milk donor.

Using donor milk is a common practice in the United States, but according to the study, you should be careful where you get it.

The study in November's issue of "Pediatrics" found bacteria in some milk purchased on the Internet.

Petroske gets her milk from a free milk-sharing program called, Eats and Feets, an organization that developed four pillars of safe breast milk sharing that includes extensive education, donor screening, pasteurization and safe handling of milk and equipment.

"Using proper guidelines for cleaning the breast equipment, washing your hands before and everything before storing the milk," said Emily Cook, Pennsylvania Eats and Feets administrator.

At Motherbaby Naturals in Bethlehem, Christy Hume helps mothers deal with breast feeding issues and has advice for moms who need donor milk.

"If you are going to buy milk, you need to buy it from a company that goes through a very detailed history of the mother's history," said Hume.

"I had DNA testing done.  I had blood work done," said Lichtenwalner.

In addition to milk sharing, Lichtenwalner also donates to milk banks. She said there are many breast milk resources around the region, and she's happy to help other mothers like Petroske.

"We stay in touch on Facebook, so I get to see pictures all the time," said Lichtenwalner.Breast