Pasteurization Process

Dispensing safe pasteurized donor human milk is our highest priority. We take numerous steps to ensure all babies receive safe human milk that retains the many benefits of unpasteurized human milk.  NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank adheres to the strict guidelines set forth by HMBANA (Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of a Donor Human Milk Bank) and we are annually assessed for adherence to the guidelines by a member of the HMBANA Board.

NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank is in 100% compliance and exceeds these guidelines in several areas.

Step 1

Potential donor moms contact the milk bank and are guided through a multi-step screening, which includes lifestyle and medical history.

Step 2

Donor moms’ health care providers complete forms that verify a donor is healthy and that excess breast milk would be appropriate for donation.

Step 3

Donor moms have a blood test done to test for infectious diseases.

Step 4

Donor Human Milk is processed in our lab, where staff are required to scrub in prior to working with the milk.

Step 5

Donor Human Milk is poured into flasks, filtered, homogenized, poured into bottles, visually inspected and then heat sealed and labelled. The label allows each bottle of milk to be traced forwards or backwards through each step in the milk tracking system.

Step 6

Donor Human Milk is pasteurized using the Holder method of pasteurization. The milk is heated to 62.5 C for 30 minutes. This pasteurization process kills bacteria, CMV and other viruses while still preserving immunological properties unique to human milk. The macronutrients are unchanged by pasteurization.

Step 7

A sample of milk from each donor before pasteurization and a bottle from each batch post-pasteurization is sent to a third party lab to ensure there are no harmful bacteria. Milk is only dispensed once a post-pasteurization culture shows no growth.

Step 8

The milk is then stored in our industrial freezers at -20 C and is dispensed to hospitals or babies in the community.