General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Is it legal to harvest human breast milk for commercial use? (NSFW)

Asked by talljasperman (21739points) April 22nd, 2014

Humans can survive on breast milk alone. Could human breast milk be collected for commercial, medical, or personal consumption?
We collect blood, and semen, so why not breast milk?

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6 Answers

muppetish's avatar

I don’t think mass commercial sale is currently legal in the United States due to FDA restrictions. Although, there does appear to be some small organizations that collect donations for distributions—with medical screening, of course. Others have attempted to independently sell excess milk.

Also, infants can survive on breast milk alone, and many mothers continue to breastfeed through toddlerhood due to the abundance of nutrients found in their milk. However, an older child, let alone an adult, cannot survive on breast milk alone.

Smitha's avatar

Like @muppetish said there are some non profit organizations called milk banks which collects milk from donors and process and pasteurize it to meet certain quality and safety standards. These milk banks have rigorous screening procedures for potential donors, including tests for drugs, hepatitis, and HIV. This milk is later on sold to hospitals and parents of sick or premature babies. Recently a New York restaurateur was selling breast milk-based cheese, though there was no law to prevent it the New York City Health Department were not supportive. Another restaurant in London is selling Baby Gaga Ice-creams.

zenvelo's avatar

There has been some controversy in the US about people selling via craig’slist and other ways. But it’s not illegal.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Breast milk banks are legal….and they can and do sell the milk.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

“Women all over the country are cashing in on what people are calling a mother’s natural liquid gold: human breast milk. A month’s supply can cost anywhere from $300 up to $1,200 dollars. In contrast, a month’s worth of formula costs an average of $200.”
~ABC News, June 6th, 2011

But most women donate it:

Amelia Boomker of Bolingbrook, Illinois, has just set the Guinness World Record for breast milk donation by giving 16,321 fluid ounces of milk, more than 127 gallons, to the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank in Indianapolis between 2008 and 2013.
~USA Today, March 19, 2014

Easy talljasperman. Close analysis of her photographs reveal remarkably normal-sized breasts.

gailcalled's avatar

Hat’s off to Amelia Boomker. Boy, is that a labor-intensive job. To pump one’s breasts even for the occasional 4 oz. supplemental bottle-so-someone-else-can-feed him-and-I-can-take-a-nap feeding is an exercise unit in itself.

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