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Bowl of the Boob: Want Some Breast Milk Ice Cream?

Bowl of the Boob: Want Some Breast Milk Ice Cream?

The virtues of breast milk cannot be sung enough. Pediatricians and Lactivists alike have sounded the rallying cry for more breastfeeding and more time spent doing it (no less than 6 months of breastfeeding is recommended for babies). There are numerous health benefits for both the child and the mother, and it is a free, exceedingly local, and natural form of nutrition that cannot be duplicated, or beat – no matter how much science and formula manufacturers have tried. Health benefits aside, human breast milk is also naturally sweet and naturally creamy, unlike that 2 percent crap you buy by the half gallon. So, what are you waiting for? Open wide!

That is precisely what a few British entrepreneurs, as well as curious customers, are doing at an ice cream shop in London’s Covent Garden district. Breast Milk Ice Cream is what is on the menu at this shop, The Icecreamist, and it is being publicized in a fairly sensational fashion. Called “Baby Gaga” and ceremoniously scooped by, what looks like, a Lady Gaga impersonator, this 100 percent human breast milk creation is “expressed on site and pasteurized before being churned with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest” and then sold to intrepid customers for £14 (about $24 U.S.). According to Matt O’Connor, the owner and founder of the publicity-seeking shop, no one has done anything interesting with ice cream for the last century and, he adds, “If it’s good enough for our children, it’s good enough for the rest of us.”

Every ounce of the human breast milk is pre-screened for disease and pathogens, and is not pasteurized, so it remains healthy and healthful. But understandably, consumers, even in progressive London, are a bit leery of such innovations. “I think it is a bit of a yuck factor, isn’t it?” said one interviewee about the ice cream when asked by a BBC film crew. And considering the prohibitive price tag, it is probably not going to catch on beyond its appeal as a novelty.

That said, this is certainly not the first time that entrepreneurs have looked to the abundance of human breast milk for inspiration and income. Last year a NYC restaurant named Klee was briefly selling cheese made from the breast milk the owner’s wife (that didn’t last too long) and there have been several other dalliances of the sort. More recently, the selling and bartering of human breast milk (for the sole purpose of feeding infants) has made the news as well. Does this make breast milk a new commodity that previously held only the most intimate value? Is the idea of drinking or consuming the breast milk of another person any more off putting that drinking the milk from some unknown Jersey cow? Is this a boob issue again, or are people just squeamish about consuming anything that was produced by the body of another? Too close to cannibalism maybe?

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Read more: All recipes, Babies, Blogs, Desserts, Diet & Nutrition, Family, Following Food, Food, Pregnancy, , , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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2:24AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

Natasha R: "If you drink cow's milk,I don't see why your fellow human's milk would be "yuck". After all,breast milk IS for human babies."

Oh, this vegan crap again.

Why yes, human milk is for babies, not adults. Have you ever seen a 20 years old drinking from a bottle feeder? I doubt it.

And no, I don't drink milk, FYI.

5:37PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

"No one has done anything interesting with ice cream for the last century"? Oh please. It sounds like someone just needed a gimmick and is only interested in tooting his own horn. I've seen plenty of interesting icecream that didn't resort to shock tactics to sell itself.

He shouldn't be applauded for this.

4:35PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Since milk produced by mammalian species is intended to feed babies and infants until they are old enough to start eating solid foods, it cannot be considered suitable for adults. In Sweden, even some adults drink milk at meal-times, which ranges from full to very reduced fat content.
Even for grown individuals of the same species it is not suitable, and in the West is one of the major sources of animal fat. Before becoming a vegetarian six years ago, I used to drink milk with a very low fat content, but now I drink soya milk instead, which I find far more palatable. It also helps to keep my cholesterol at an acceptable level as I know form my six-monthly diabetes check-ups.

Breast milk ice cream is just a fad and a blatant attempt to make money. I wonder how much they pay the mothers who provide the raw material.

4:06PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Me Me Me ------ Thank You !!

12:10PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Ih, NO thanks. Think I'd have to pass on this one.

12:05PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Send the breast milk to starving babies instead of this!

4:04AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

If you drink cow's milk,I don't see why your fellow human's milk would be "yuck". After all,breast milk IS for human babies.

2:05AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

11:47PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

I wonder how long this fad lasted. At 14 quid a serve only the rich and weird would have tried it anyway, it's probably over by now.

10:32PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011 thanks I'll pass

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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