The commercialization of human milk
by Jodine Chase
1.25 E CERPS and 1.25 pre-exam education hours
Non-profit human milk banks in North America dispensed over 4 million ounces of human milk in 2015 for infants in need. That sounds like a lot of milk, and it is an increase of 10 fold since the turn of the century. But in the same year, two competing US companies say they processed a similar amount of milk for commercial human milk products. One says they bought 1 million ounces at $1/oz that year. And a third company that offers a web-based brokerage for private buyers and sellers claims to have 10,000 ads offering 45 million ounces of milk at any given time. A Utah-based company is paying women in Cambodia for their milk and reselling it in the US. Infant formula companies are looking to extract human milk components to enhance their products, and the for-profit trend is expanding beyond the US’s borders into Canada, Australia, and beyond. Learn more about this human milk marketplace – what are the products being sold, and how to do they compare to traditional human donor milk? What are the options for families that wish to donate or sell milk, and for those in need?