Is It Safe to Eat My Placenta?

 

Our answer: Not necessarily. 

A recent warning was put out by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), advising mothers to reconsider placenta consumption to avoid the potential risks it may carry. This statement was triggered by an incident where an infant became ill from a late-onset Group-B Streptococcal infection. The infants mother had been taking placenta capsules, and it was confirmed that the capsules contained the GBS bacteria. 

The concerns being brought forward about the risks of placenta consumption are not a foreign concept to In Bloom.

In fact, this case highlights the very reason only a ProDoula, LLC,  trained Postpartum Placenta Specialist, will handle your placenta. ProDoula’s placenta training is rigorous and thorough, and sets the highest industry standards for this practice, seeking first to prevent the spread of pathogens due to improper handling and processing. 

You can read Pro Doula's position statement on the recent CDC article, here. 

While it can’t be confirmed that the contaminated capsules are the cause of the infection,  the details of the CDC article imply that risks could have been minimized on all fronts, had processing standards been stricter. We know: 

 

The placenta was transported by the encapsulator from the hospital, and processed in her own space. 

According to CDC’s statement, “The mother confirmed that she had registered with Company A to pick up and encapsulate her placenta for ingestion.” Knowledge of how the placenta was transported, stored, cleanliness of the environment, or the potential for cross-contamination from other placenta processing in the environment it was exposed to, are all unknown.

Our encapsulator does not handle your placenta until we arrive at your home. We provide our clients with handling and storage instructions that follow food-safe practices, and transport guidelines that keep in line with World Health Organizations protocol for organ transport. While placenta pick-up and drop-off by an encapsulator may seem convenient, it carries too many unknown variables to deem it safe. We only process in our clients home, following the protocols set out by our Blood Borne Pathogens certification. 

 

“According to Company A’s website, the placenta is cleaned, sliced, and dehydrated at 115°F–160°F (46°C–71°C), then ground and placed into about 115–200 gelatin capsules, and stored at room temperature.”

We don’t know the exact temperature the placenta was dehydrated, which means it may have been dried to a temperature that allows the potential for bacteria to grow and multiply. Storage of any meat product should be in the fridge or freezer, not room temperature. 

Our encapsulation process adheres strictly to Food Safe protocols, which require that meat be steamed and dehydrated to an internal temperature of 160F, in order to eliminate harmful bacteria. We advise that pills be refrigerated for up to three months, and frozen if not consumed within that time frame. 

 

When considering placenta encapsulation, be sure:

  • You are given adequate information on how to transport and store your placenta safely
  • All processing and handling of the placenta happens in your space, under your care. 

  • The placenta is cooked and dehydrated to an internal temperature that adheres to the food-safe protocols

  • You are given proper instructions for storage of your pills

  • Your encapsulator is trained and accountable to a recognized certifying organization 

  • Your encapsulator holds liability insurance for this service

  • Your encapsulator carries a current Canadian Blood Born Pathogens (BBP) Certification 

 

This  recent incident has only solidified how strongly we feel about the future regulation of this industry, and our commitment to adhering to the safest protocols, in order to offer the safest option for placenta encapsulation. If you are a care provider wanting more information, or pregnant and have questions about our process, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you might have.