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A for-profit market for breast milk is emerging around the globe (including in India)


Over the last few decades, the demand for breast milk has grown. The message “breast is best” has driven parents and caregivers to buy breast milk. Even the unwell, bodybuilders and “clean eaters” are known to use it. Once limited to milk banks and peer-to-peer sharing, a new for-profit milk market has emerged.

Companies producing a range of breast milk products are popping up around the globe, including in India, Cambodia, the United States and England. These products include formula replacements – designed to be the sole source of nutrition – and other dietary supplements that complement or are added to the formula.

Risks to consumers

Breast milk products are often marketed as safer, vegan, better for the immune system and infant development. Sometimes, in the case of replacements, products are marketed as more ethical than formula. And they are not just sold to individuals and caregivers, but also to healthcare providers and hospitals.

In England, one breast-milk processing company produces and sells, according to its own sources, six 50ml bottles for £45. Breast milk sale is now a profitable endeavour.

Notably, a company in England cites my past research with colleagues on its website to support mothers donating breast milk to it rather than selling or sharing peer-to-peer or to other online sites like onlythebreast.com.

The research of mine that is being cited…

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