Breast milk is not just essential for infants, it also contains nutrients that can offer medical benefits to adults, according to Avital Beck, co-founder and CEO of Israel-based breast milk testing startup MilkStrip. MilkStrip is one of ten startups founded by ultra-Orthodox men and women that were selected to participate in a special program by KamaTech, a nonprofit organization working to integrate Israel's ultra-orthodox population into its technology industry, at Calcalist’s “Mind the Tech” conference held this week in New York City.
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MilkStrip was founded in 2017 by Ms. Beck, a mother of six, and Hadas Shatz-Azoulay, a mother of five, both molecular biology researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. The company develops a testing strip that tests the quality and makeup of breast milk using a single drop. A photo of the test strip is uploaded to a mobile app that analyzes the sample and provides recommendations.
The data gathered by MilkStrip’s technology may mean more efficient testing and further scientific developments and health-related uses for breast milk, Ms. Beck said in a phone interview with Calcalist in February. “Our main goal is to keep mothers at ease and encourage breastfeeding, but we are also concerned with big data—there just isn’t enough information about breast milk in general and pre-pumped milk in particular,” she said.
MilkStrip is currently developing a prototype and is in the process of raising investments for further research and development.
The first products are aimed at pre-pumped and frozen breast milk and are meant to test whether refrigeration or defrosting have damaged its quality.
In the future, the company plans to add additional tests identifying the levels of essential or potentially harmful components in the milk according to various categories and the infant’s age. The app will analyze the components and offer dietary recommendations to treat any deficiency or issue.