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?