Journal of Food Technology and Preservation

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Global and European perspectives on the Banking of Human Milk

Joint Event on 2nd International Conference on Food Safety and Hygiene & 7th International Conference on Nutrition, Food Science and Technology
March 07-09, 2019 | London, UK

Gillian Weaver

Hearts Milk Bank, UK

Keynote : J Food Technol Pres

DOI: 10.4066/2591-796X-C1-004


Opportunities to increase breastfeeding rates are sought globally. The recent scientific advances in knowledge of breastmilk have added to the imperative to work towards a world in which all infants are breastfed. The availability of safe, donated human milk offers the opportunity to fill the gap that arises when babies are unable to receive their own mother’s milk. The availability and appropriate use of processed, screened, donated human milk has been shown to support maternal lactation and breastfeeding of preterm and sick infants on neonatal units as well as help to prevent infant morbidities including necrotising enterocolitis. The banking of human milk for donation to unrelated infants is increasing globally. In 2018, the total number of human milk banks has grown to more than 650. These are sited in over 60 different countries and include newly established milk banks in Asia and Africa as well as throughout Europe. In addition, innovative models have recently been introduced to Australia, India and within Europe. A comparison of approaches to the provision of human milk for infants whose mothers are unable to breastfeed will be presented. This presentation will provide a global overview of the changing patterns within human milk banking and look closely at the processes and practices that are in common usage and what can be expected to become integrated into milk banking in the future.


Gillian Weaver has specialised in the field of human milk banking and breastfeeding for thirty years. She managed the longest continually operating milk bank in the world at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in West London and oversaw its growth in activity and influence between 1989 and 2015. In 1996 Gillian proposed and cofounded the UK Association for Milk Banking (UKAMB – and ten years later was instrumental in the foundation of the European Milk Bank Association (EMBA – As the Chair / Forum lead of UKAMB and the President (2012-2015) / Board Member of EMBA she led the organisation of many international conferences and was a key member in the development of internationally recognized guidelines, including the NICE Clinical Guideline 93 (Donor Milk Banks; Service Operation). Since January 2016, Gillian has combined two roles. As an international human milk banking consultant she provides advice and recommendations to aid the establishment of human milk banks globally including in Australia, India, Kenya and Vietnam. Together with Dr Natalie Shenker she is cofounder and director of the Hearts Milk Bank (HMB) providing assured supplies of donor human milk to hospital NNUs throughout the South and East of England and to babies at home. The HMB was recently recognized by NESTA and the Observer newspaper as one of 50 ‘New Radicals’ for 2018, described as changing the UK for the better by developing creative ways of tackling society’s biggest challenges. Gillian lectures widely, writes on human milk banking and actively contributes to projects of global importance related to the strengthening of human milk banking models. She was a member of the ICCBBA Technical Advisory Group that agreed the ISBT128 coding system for human milk to facilitate consistency in coding and recently acted as an expert panel member within the EU’s Horizon2020 programme. 

E-mail: [email protected]

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