New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to require breast milk banks be licensed by the state Department of Health.
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt is concerned that unregulated, shared breast milk might not be stored at the proper temperature.
“Bacteria can come in to the breast milk, and, when an infant is then receiving breast milk that has a high content of bacteria,it can cause severe problems and sometimes death,” said Lampitt, D-Camden, Monday during an Assembly committee hearing.
Lampitt’s bill, which would require screening of the milk, would also set standards for processing and storage.
But the measure could discourage milk banks from opening in New Jersey, according to Ellen Maughan with the New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition.
“It does stand to increase costs a bit on a commodity that’s really needed for sick babies and is already pretty expensive and is not always covered by insurance,” Maughan said at the hearing.
Maughan said funding intended for the regulations in Lampitt’s measure would be better spent on a public awareness campaign to promote breastfeeding.
“That money could be put toward increasing breastfeeding rates to lessen the demand for shared or banked human milk,” she said.
Fifteen nonprofit breast milk banks in other states now provide supplies to New Jersey hospitals.