The report alleging an infant being infected with Group-B Strep bacteria from placenta capsules is completely inaccurate. In reading through the details (summarized below), you’ll see that it’s impossible that the placenta capsules were the source of infection. This is not a study, but rather a media article.  One story is never a scientific study.  As is often the case in anything birth-related, the headline is misleading.

Women who test positive for GBS bacteria are generally unaffected; it’s a common bacteria.  The concern is that baby will become infected and may become ill.  Women who test GBS positive are offered antibiotics during labour to prevent the baby from being infected as they pass through the birth canal.

Summary of the baby who was the subject of the article: The infant was already ill and infected with GBS during birth, and was treated in the NICU.  Then baby was sent home after treatment and became ill again with same infection.  Mother’s milk was tested and the results were negative for GBS, meaning there was no infection in her milk.  The milk she was feeding her baby was negative for GBS!  The placenta capsules were later tested and determined to be positive.  The mother, not the baby, ingested the capsules. 

The only way the capsules could have led to this infection, would be if the mother fed them to her baby, and I’ve never heard of that!  Since GBS lives in our intestines and genital tract, the mother didn’t breath it on her baby – it’s near impossible that the mother directly infected her baby.  (Detailed article about GBS.)  It’s more likely the baby’s infection was not cured the first time around, and being the USA, the hospital was looking for a scapegoat to avoid litigation.  It’s the only explanation I can think of.

If you or a loved one was hospitalized for a systemic major infection, get sent home, then relapsed quickly, what would be your logical conclusion?  Personally, I would suspect the original infection was not cured.  (This actually happens a fair bit and is the reason we’re told to always take the entire bottle of antibiotics – we can appear well but still have lingering infections.)

How on earth did someone make the leap to blame the caps for infecting this baby?  In any other situation it would be assumed that the initial infection was not cleared up properly. No one would go looking through the family cupboards to see what the rest of the family ingested. It’s interesting that the thing from which Big Pharm can’t profit is the thing blamed in this case.  Here’s another great, factual response.

Certainly it’s worth paying attention to this information.  although we know the capsules were not the source of infection, it does beg the question, why were the capsules GBS positive?  Two possibilities are that the placenta was not dried at adequate temperatures, or that they weren’t left to dry long enough. Dehydrated meat, including placenta, is considered safe to consume if completely dried at 155 – 165 F, as this kills virtually all bacteria*.  Another possibility is cross-contamination.

We just tested our meat dehydrators when this article came out, and they are accurate according to the dial-setting, meaning we use temperatures of 160F, well above the safety threshold.  Your placenta is always completely dried so we can make a fine powder.  Between steps and between clients, we double-sanitize and then sterilize our surfaces and equipment and always wear proper equipment, including gloves and mask.  Check out our Placenta Capsules FAQs to learn more about our strict safety protocols, including OSHA certification.  

* These temperatures are actually “overkill”.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the entity responsible for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reports that at 122°F, no bacteria that are pathogenic (cause illness) to humans will survive.