We all know the benefits of breast milk – everything from a lower risk of obesity and asthma to a higher-functioning immune system. But when you envision the benefits of breast milk, chances are you’re picturing a baby suckling at mom’s breast.
However, if some ingenious chefs have their way, human breast milk could be cropping up in some unlikely places, like ice cream parlors and high-end restaurants.
A London ice cream parlor began selling ice cream made from breast milk last month. Called “Baby Gaga”, the dessert was made from pasteurized human milk. Proponents of the ice cream dismissed the whole ‘yuck’ factor behind the thought of ingesting the breast milk of a stranger.
“What could be more natural than fresh, free-range mother’s milk in an ice cream?” said Victoria Hiley, a lactating mother who sold her milk to the parlor.
British officials ultimately confiscated the ice cream after a flood of complaints came in once the story hit the newsstands.
Council Officer Brian Connell of the Health Protection Agency and Food Standards Agency explained, “Selling foodstuffs made from another person’s bodily fluids can lead to viruses being passed on and in this case, potentially hepatitis.”
The shop’s owner, Matt O’Connell defended his delicacy claiming that the shop took every possible precaution. “Our donor was screened at a leading medical clinic, and then the ice cream mix is fully pasteurized,” he said. He’s considering protesting the Agency’s ban.
Believe it not, O’Connell is not the first visionary to use this not-so-secret ingredient in food meant for adults. Last year, the owner of a high-end restaurant in NYC began serving diners cheese made from his wife’s breast milk.
Daniel Angerer, owner of Klee Brasserie began experimenting with making cheese out of breast milk, and after blogging about it, he claims he was flooded with customers vying for a sample. He obliged, and created “a canapé of breast-milk cheese with figs and Hungarian pepper.”
Angerer’s wife, Lori Mason justified her recipe contribution claiming, “I think a lot of the criticism has to do with the combination of sex and cheese, but the breast is there to make food.”
Just like in London, officials in New York put the kibosh on Angerer’s luxury cheese once the story ran in the NY Post.
Despite the obvious trepidations you might have at trying anything that lists breast milk as an ingredient, diseases aren’t all that likely to be passed on through breast milk. “As long as the ice cream shop was diligent about screening the milk donors and pasteurizing the ice cream, the chances of spreading disease are low,” said Sharon M. Donovan, Professor of Nutrition and Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
But with that being said, there really aren’t any benefits to consuming dairy products made from breast milk, either.
“Ice cream made of human breast milk certainly won’t hurt people, but it’s not something that has any purposes for bettering health,” explained Donovan.
Moms, tell us: would you try anything made with breast milk? Why or why not?