​Mom Forced to Quit Job at Market Because Breastfeeding Is a 'Food Safety Issue'

A mom who sold prepackaged and dry foods at a local farmers market in Canada was forced to shut down her business when she failed to pass a food safety inspection -- because she breastfed her 7-month-old son while sitting at her booth. The inspector informed Tanessa Holt of Nova Scotia that she was welcome to nurse her baby while she worked, as long as she didn't get anywhere near her own food or customers and agreed to hire someone else to handle the food.


Holt says she sold containers of soup mix, homemade protein bars and prepackaged oatmeal and granola -- not exactly food items that you associate with contamination in the first place. A lot of moms can relate to the problem she faces leaving her son with a babysitter because she says he doesn't like taking bottles and still relies on her breast milk.

She probably figured she had an ideal job at the market because she could go about making transactions with customers and selling her food, while taking short breaks when necessary to feed her son.

But no. After a food safety inspector visited her booth, she was told that, even if she breastfed her son once in the morning and was anywhere near the food, she was not allowed to handle the food for the remainder of the day. Which is just insane. Since hers is a new business, she says she can't afford to hire a second hand and had to give up her booth.

In an email, the inspector reportedly wrote, "The food safety concern is contamination of food through possible throw up and/or feces coming from the baby. This would include you burping the baby after nursing or you having to change the infant's diaper between serving customers."

More from The Stir: Mom Kicked Out of Kiddie Pool for Breastfeeding Her 10-Month-Old

Holt fired back, saying she absolutely takes the proper precautions when nursing her son, washes her hands regularly, and wears gloves to handle food items that aren't prepackaged. She says she watches others sell food that isn't covered or handle money and then food without washing or wearing gloves and that it's appalling to think she is being singled out for feeding her child.

Okay, she didn't use the word "appalling," I did.

What makes this even more mysterious is that Nova Scotia Food Safety regulations don't mention breastfeeding. A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture has reportedly apologized to Holt and says she is in contact with the inspector to find out exactly what went on and whether this was simply a misunderstanding.

Do you think this mom should be allowed to breastfeed while selling food at a farmer's market booth?


Image via Summer/Flickr


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