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.)

The report regarding an infant being infected with Group-B Strep bacteria from placenta capsules is completely ridiculous.  First of all, it’s a sample size of ONE!  That makes it invalid as far as “studies” go.  And the connections made are not really connections at all.  I can’t believe anyone would even publish this.  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 getting too high a level as they pass through the birth canal.  All babies are very close and personal with their placentas, and this has never been raised as an issue, no matter the woman’s GBS status. Detailed article about GBS.

Summary of the baby who was the subject of the article: The infant was already ill and infected with GBS at birth, and was sent home after treatment; 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.  Placenta caps were later tested and determined to be positive.  (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 scacpegoat to avoid litigation.  It’s the only explanation I can think of.)

How on earth did someone make the leap to blame the caps for infecting this baby?  Mother ingested the capsules, not the 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. (Unless, as my friend says, the mother sprinkled the baby with opened capsules, or put it in the baby’s mouth. Never heard of that!)  She fed her baby her breast milk, which was negative.

In spite of having no valid correlation, the recommendation is to not ingest placenta.  (Interesting that the thing from which Big Pharm can’t profit is almost always the thing blamed.)

Here’s a great, factual response; more eloquent than my response above.

Certainly it’s worth paying attention to this information.  Even if those particular capsules were unsafe, that’s not how the baby would have been reinfected.  However it does beg the question, why were the capsules GBS positive?  Two possibilities are that the placenta was not dried at adequate temperatures for meat, 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.