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Thread: Human Breast Milk in Adult Food

  1. #1
    Anti-anti-vacccine Dandelion's Avatar
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    Human Breast Milk in Adult Food

    From a recent post:
    Quote Originally Posted by Emiloid View Post
    But what about human milk??
    The Food Ethics Blog asks the same: Breast Milk Ice Cream?
    My question, here, is roughly the same as my question about synthetic meat: beyond the “yuck” factor, is there any actual ethical objection to eating ice cream made with human milk?
    Via this BBC article on a restaurant that's serving ice cream made with breastmilk: Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden
    "If it's good enough for our children, it's good enough for the rest of us," he said.

    "Some people will hear about it and go yuck - but actually it's pure organic, free-range and totally natural."
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

  2. #2
    If women are doing this entirely freely (always tricky in a society where many people, especially women, have limited options due to financial constraints, education level, etc.), then I suppose I've no objection to raise to this, but there are questions that need looking into.

    Breast milk is made from nutrients, vitamins, etc. that the mother is "sacrificing" in order to nourish her child. Mother and child must share the nutrition of what she takes into her body. If she's giving up some of her breast milk for other purposes, that probably is a bit of a strain on her. I'd also want to know if it was diminishing the nutrition of the child's diet, in addition to whether it puts the mother at increased risk of deficiency.

  3. #3
    Plant-Based Person Lentil's Avatar
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    Whether or not it's ethical, I wouldn't eat it. Breast milk can carry HIV, hepatitis, and probably lots of other pathogens. I know pasteurization should inactivate most pathogens, but on the minuscule chance that something would go wrong, I wouldn't risk it.

    As for the "milk is only for the child" argument, I know lots of breastfeeding mothers who end up throwing out frozen breastmilk after 6 month or however long it keeps in the freezer because they produced too much. I don't think there's a problem there. The major issue for me would be safety.

    And then there is the ethics of creating a market for something that isn't normally bought and sold... But I doubt this is going to become popular on a large scale due to cultural inhibitions.

  4. #4
    While mothers may be able to produce large amounts of milk, what I was talking about was the quality of that milk. I'd want to know how nutrient dense the milk is when a woman expels large amounts, etc. Perhaps it's not affected, perhaps it is. I don't know. :

    I might consider trying it, but I can't see myself consuming the stuff on a regular basis. Same goes for in vitro meat, dairy, etc. if that ever hits the market. The former is ideal food for human babies, the latter is not food to me anymore. I'm not saying I wouldn't taste cruelty-free in vitro bacon, etc. but I'd be sticking to my soy bacon.

  5. #5
    Plant-Based Person Lentil's Avatar
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    Umm.. you can't just put it back in! My understanding is that it's really uncomfortable for lactating women to sit there with breasts full of milk if baby isn't hungry, so women will pump in that situation. That's why they end up with a surplus. They aren't just pumping for the hell of it.

  6. #6
    hat-wearing potato eater dropscone's Avatar
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    The article says the people providing the milk go through the same health screening that they would in order to provide blood, which includes testing for HIV. I probably wouldn't try it though, not only because of the ick factor but also because it's £14 a scoop! that's about $22.50 US.
    "Like a cloud of blossoms falling
    Ain't it such a gorgeous morning?
    Hold your breath and reach for the blue"
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  7. #7
    Plant-Based Person Lentil's Avatar
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    Hmm. I wonder if the "health checks" include a blood draw in that case. If they are just doing the interview screening (Have you had sex with a man who has had sex with another man since 1970?, etc.), that's not going to be all that effective in screening out people who are at risk for HIV because obviously they could just lie, and there are all sorts of scenarios that those questions don't address so there's always a small chance of someone with HIV getting through even if they answer truthfully.

    If a blood draw is involved for HIV testing, that changes my ethical view of this, actually. There are risks (very small probability) associated with a blood draw, and I don't think it's appropriate for women to endanger their health so someone can have a scoop of fancy ice cream.

  8. #8
    smoo + hat Chijou_no_seiza's Avatar
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    I am against human breast milk for several reasons:

    1) Milk is food for babies
    2) Milk is addictive, and creates an unnatural craving for adults
    3) Adult bodies do not need milk, and limits our consumption of healthy and necessary food our bodies require
    4) (USA specific) Many Americans are overweight and do not need dense calorie foods like milk
    5) Eating lower on the food chain is more environmentally sound, and transforming food to milk so we can consume it is not not justifiable for selfish (non-health related) reasons
    6) Perpetuates idea that it is acceptable to use females bodies for profit
    7) Previously mentioned healthy risks (HIV, etc others also mentioned)
    8) Milk is produced from animals and is high in both saturated fat and cholesterol
    9) Depending on diet, there can be an unsafe amount of heavy metals and other accumulating toxic compounds which no adult needs
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." -- Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    Is there not a food bank/breastmilk type bank that "extra" boob milk can be donated to? I'd have much more respect for a woman who did that versus putting it in ice cream or something.

  10. #10
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    I think it is fake. A hoax. Just a publicity stunt, nothing more. Have you seen the get up of the server? I don't think Lady Gaga was born from an egg, either, although there may be video/photographic evidence which proves me wrong on that too.

    Some British dude claims to have eaten the same breed of dog the Queen has (if I recall) on live TV. Same thing: outrageous behavior gets news crews coming by to film you for free advertising/publicity.

    At the very least I'd say they are using the same trick the vitamin industry does. When one sees a bottle of "Pure, natural Vitamin C made with 100% organic rose hips" that's baloney. 99.99% of the vitamin C in that bottle comes from exactly the same source as 99.99% of the other vitamin C on the market does: corn. The difference is they've sprinkled an insignificant amount of rose hips on top of each batch and added an extra digit to the price tag.
    Last edited by Mahk; 02-28-2011 at 05:57 PM.

  11. #11
    half a block from Normal Emiloid's Avatar
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    This all cracks me up. I don't care if it's real or not... it should be real. The world needs this kind of mind-f*ck.
    On a more serious note, I've heard that human milk can't be made into cheese because it's not fatty enough. I guess you could still make ice cream, but it might be more like ice... milk?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by MongrelHeart View Post
    Is there not a food bank/breastmilk type bank that "extra" boob milk can be donated to? I'd have much more respect for a woman who did that versus putting it in ice cream or something.
    In some areas there are milk banks. The one I know of is called La Leche League. Here's another one: Human Milk Bank.
    wocka wocka wocka

  12. #12
    hat-wearing potato eater dropscone's Avatar
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    Yeah, there are breast milk banks in some parts of the UK, in London I don't think it would be a problem location wise if you wanted to donate to those. I don't really have a problem with women selling their breastmilk either though - it's going to cause them inconvenience to get tested, express and deliver the milk, and presumably they have to buy extra (organic!) food while they're lactating. If this got into mass production territory I'd have more concerns regarding possible exploitation.
    "Like a cloud of blossoms falling
    Ain't it such a gorgeous morning?
    Hold your breath and reach for the blue"
    Blossoms Falling - Ooberman

  13. #13
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    Come one, come all! Attention: Lady Gaga ice cream is passé. Old news. Come try the newest and latest hip trend and I promise no possible exploitation of women!

    Now and for a limited time only I bring you, Gent Dada ice cream.


  14. #14
    Plant-Based Person Ariann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emiloid View Post
    This all cracks me up. I don't care if it's real or not... it should be real. The world needs this kind of mind-f*ck.
    On a more serious note, I've heard that human milk can't be made into cheese because it's not fatty enough. I guess you could still make ice cream, but it might be more like ice... milk?!?
    Human breast milk has plenty of fat. What it doesn't have much of is protein, that's why you can't make it into cheese.

    The only real problem I have with this is the issue of commodifying human bodies, particularly women's bodies. Otherwise, this is like eating any other kind of totally unnecessary high-calorie junk food. I don't think any of us can claim to never eat junk. I also find it impossible to believe they'd be selling this without a rigorous health screening and we risk ingesting toxic chemicals no matter what we eat (obviously eating further up the food chain makes this risk higher).
    The opinions and beliefs contained in this post are the opinions and beliefs of the writer alone and are not an attempt to adequately describe reality for all people. These opinions and beliefs should not be construed as an attempt to convince, manipulate, cajole, harass, persecute, oppress, convert, or otherwise deeply annoy the reader. The author of this post hopes the reader will imagine the most pleasant person in the world reading this post softly in her/his ear.

  15. #15
    Plant-Based Person Soymilk_Gun's Avatar
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    I'd try it! Assuming the women made it for a laugh or if they were being paid well, healthy, and happy.

    Havnt made up my mind on lab grown meat, it's icky but I support it's development in a humane manner as a replacement for stubbon folks.

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