Lactarium: Good practices and freeze-drying

6 October 2022

A. Jourand (Bordeaux - France)

Breast milk is particularly beneficial for the health and development of premature infants. It significantly reduces the complications observed in these vulnerable children. If a mother cannot meet her child’s milk needs, it will be required to use donated breast milk that lactariums collect, pasteurize and qualify.
Although breast milk is sometimes called a medicine, it does not meet the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices. As blood exudation, its treatment meets the requirements described in specific Good Practices and lactariums are subject to regular inspections by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products in the same way as French Blood Establishments.
The lactarium of the CHU de Bordeaux has 2 production sites, 1 site dedicated to the production of personalized pasteurized breast milk and to supporting mothers during breastfeeding and 1 industrial site where more than 16,000 litres of raw milk are processed per year. The milk is pasteurized then frozen or freeze-dried. This freeze-drying process is unique and therefore benefits from a particular guideline in the Good Lactarium Practices. Freeze-dried milk, stable for 18 months at room temperature, benefits exclusively the French Overseas neonatal services.
Besides its particularity of freeze-drying breast milk, the lactarium of the Bordeaux’ CHU is also the largest lactarium in France. It has been designated to produce and manage a state stock of 600 liters of human milk to meet the needs of other lactariums in crisis situations by the Ministry of Health.
The Bordeaux CHU’s lactarium therefore has the challenge of ensuring industrial-type production within a public health facility, both through its volume and its quality risk management approach.

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