Yes you heard correctly. Breast milk ice cream. Lactation has never been so in….at least in the U.K. An eccentric ice cream shop in the London called The Ice Creamists started serving ice cream made with human breast milk, calling it “Baby Gaga.” According to Popeater.com, Gaga’s attorneys sent the owners a letter asking them to stop using the name ‘Gaga’ in their ice cream, calling their concoction “deliberately provocative and, to many people, nausea-inducing.”
Strange? Yes. Waste of breast milk that could have prevented vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition in the Donor-mothers’ babies? Maybe. But disgusting it is not, at least according to store founder Matt O’Connor:
How could anyone POSSIBLY say this is disgusting. If it is good enough for our kids, it’s good enough for anyone else. It’s pure, it’s natural, it’s organic, and it’s free range — and if it’s good enough for our kids, it’s good enough to use in our ice cream.
The Ice Creamists is not exactly your typical ice cream shop, with a parental advisory on their website and scantily clad, lady-gaga look-a-likes wearing Madonna cone bras serving you ice cream made from human body fluids:
Maybe it tastes great, but is it safe? And is it any healthier then regular cow’s milk, as some may claim? Here’s a nutritional comparison of cow milk with human milk:
|Cow Milk (whole)||Human Milk|
|Total Fat grams||8||10.7|
|Saturated Fat grams||5||5|
Data for 1 cup of whole cow’s milk was calculated with PhotoCalorie and the data for human milk comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Laboratory reference database. As you can see, human milk has slightly more calories and fat but much less protein.
But it’s not the nutrient differences that are the cause of concern. Rather, what if the human donor was sick with an infectious disease like HIV? The FDA cautions against donor breast milk, saying:
If you are considering feeding a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby’s mother, you should know that there are possible health and safety risks for the baby. Risks for the baby include exposure to infectious diseases, including HIV, to chemical contaminants, such as some illegal drugs, and to a limited number of prescription drugs that might be in the human milk, if the donor has not been adequately screened. In addition, if human milk is not handled and stored properly, it could, like any type of milk, become contaminated and unsafe to drink.
According to The Ice Creamists, the milk came from women found through an Internet advertisement, and their milk was screened in line with hospital/blood donor requirements. But the city of London is not convinced, removing the ice cream from the shop, amid concerns that it is unsafe.
This post was written by Larry Istrail of PhotoCalorie.com and adapted, with permission.