New hot-flash-pasteurization device allows infants to suckle without alleged risk
[Edited to add: Now that the date has passed, and most of you have figured it out anyway, I'll clarify that this was an April Fools' Day piece. Enjoy! -DG]
Readers –– I’m in Washington, DC this week, reporting the latest news from our nation’s capital.
WASHINGTON, 4.1.11. The Food and Drug Administration, long a critic of unpasteurized dairy, announced new restrictions today on a previously-unregulated form of sustenance: mother’s milk. The new rules, which require breast milk to be raised to a temperature of 161 °F (71.7 °C) and then cooled, will go into effect immediately. Women caught breastfeeding infants without first pasteurizing their milk will be subject to fines and, if found in continual violation, liquidation of their assets.
“It came to our attention that individuals were suckling directly from an unbleached nipple,” said FDA spokesman Arthur Steenow. “When we looked at data for the U.S. population as a whole, we realized there was a strong correlation between this intake of unpasteurized mother’s milk and other alarming symptoms, most notably emotional irritability, crying, incontinence, weak limbs, and even a lack of articulate, verbal communication. It became apparent that we needed to move forward with bold action steps immediately.”
While the battle over unpasteurized (also known as “raw”) milk has raged in bovine, caprine and even ovine territories, the inclusion of human milk in the conflict is new.
The exact origin of concerns over unpasteurized breast milk remains unclear. However, multiple sources cite a response to a common lament among breastfeeding women: sore, raw nipples. The FDA, these sources state, began investigating complaints about raw nipples in late 2008, when it stumbled upon the data mentioned by Steenow. After realizing hospitals had received multiple complaints about the raw nipples, the FDA decided to step in and nip the situation in the bud.
However, the agency isn’t planning to leave mothers and infants high and dry. In conjunction with Johnson & Johnson, the FDA is issuing a new product that will allow mothers to pasteurize the milk as it flows directly from the mother’s breast to the infant’s mouth. Known as Hot Mama, the device uses a technique called hot-flash-pasteurization to heat the milk quickly and cool it to a reasonable temperature. The plastic contraption will be available for $29.99 from local drugstores.
But some people aren’t exactly pumped about the news. Raw milk enthusiasts and breastfeeding advocates around the country delivered thousands of signatures to the FDA, objecting to the regulations, and accusing the agency of milking the situation to its own advantage. Many local-food advocates were simply confused.
The FDA is nonplussed. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, seemed less than empathetic to the public’s concerns. When asked what infants and mothers should do if they object to the new regulations, he shrugged. “It’s the law now,” he said. “Suck it up.”
For more information about the situation, please read the original press release.
Tomorrow: Used-car dealer on Aurora Ave North begins selling the Pacific Northwest’s first local lemons!