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Food for Thought - March 25, 2011 - Mark R. Vogel - [email protected] - Mark’s Archive

OK now I’ve heard everything.
I know I’ll probably say that again someday.  But for the time being………now I’ve heard everything.  Ready for this folks?  Take a seat and try to keep your lunch down because it’s a doozy:  A London company is selling ice cream made from human breast milk.  You heard me right.  The company placed an ad online and offered to compensate women for furnishing their breast milk.  They collect it, supposedly test it to screen out disease, and pasteurize it.  Then, the amalgamation of God-knows-how-many random women’s lactational secretions are churned into ice cream……..much like your stomach is doing right now. 

The bilious concoction is called “Baby Gaga.”  Personally I would leave off the last “a”.  A martini glass serving sells for 14 pounds, approximately 23 American dollars.  And this just keeps getting better.  Because as demented as you may think it is to consume multi-mammary-gland ice cream, there are plenty of individuals out there willing to do it.  Baby Gag ice cream sold out almost immediately.

However, a few citizens lodged formal complaints with the Westminster City Council.  They questioned the legality and safety of a product made from human body fluids.  Apparently the ice cream is undergoing further testing and awaiting an official notification from Britain’s Food Standards Agency as to whether it can still be marketed.  The producer contends that there’s no British law preventing the sale of breast milk ice cream.  By the way, such laws do exist in the US, so you can forget about contributing to junior’s college fund with his breakfast. 

This is so disturbing on so many levels I almost don’t know where to begin.  OK, let’s start with the basics, i.e., the physical concerns, and then we'll delve deeper into the warped psychology of it all.  Who in their right mind would trust an ice cream company to be competent enough to screen human breast milk?  It seems to me that it would necessitate a level of medical expertise beyond what the Good Humor Man possesses.  There are a number of pathogens than can be transmitted through breast milk such as hepatitis, HIV, and Lyme disease just to mention a few.  Is it even possible to screen breast milk with 100% assuredness?  I don’t know the answer to that but let’s give’em that one.  Even if it is feasible to thoroughly scrutinize the milk and eliminate any tainted samples, my first question still stands.  What reasonable person would entrust an ice cream company to be diligent enough?  Especially when normal ice cream is readily available, safe, cheaper, so much less gross, etc. etc.  And that brings us to the psychological. 

What is going on in the psyches of the individuals foaming at the mouth to try breast milk ice cream???  Why doesn’t their brain register the normal degree of revulsion that most others feel about such a practice?   For those of you missing the “Oh-my-God-that’s-disgusting-gene,” allow me to elaborate on the repugnancy immediately apparent to the rest of us. 


There is something primordially abhorrent to consuming the milk of a woman in any context outside of being fed by your own mother as a baby.  A woman nourishing her young is a sacrosanct human experience. But as an adult there is something sacrilegious about consuming a woman’s breast milk.  It’s a mutation of a natural, life-giving bond into a cannibalistic, sexually twisted, boundary-crossing, perversion.  We’re not talking about some lone husband, who out of some kinky curiosity must have a fleeting taste of his lactating wife.  Oh no.  We’re talking about a gastronomic orgy:  a sordid, communal, cornucopia of milk from multifarious females.  It’s a defilement of one of life’s most fundamental processes. 

Cannibalism.  That was one of the visceral thoughts that came to my mind when I first heard about breast milk ice cream.  Then I went online and began perusing the blogs. Sure enough, others had that reaction as well.  So I fought off the nausea and pondered it a little further.  In an effort to be reasonable I played devil’s advocate in my own head.  Is imbibing breast milk ice cream really cannibalism?  The answer I resoundingly came to is yes.  Go ahead and quibble all you want that the technical definition of cannibalism is the devouring of human flesh and milk is not flesh.  That’s nothing more than semantic hair splitting.  Ingesting breast milk (other than as a baby from your mother), retains the essence of cannibalism:  the consumption of the bodily matter of another human being.  Most human beings recoil at such a concept.  They need no explanation as to why it is sickening.  Again, why do some minds lack this fail-safe? 

Next are the disconcerting sexual overtones. Breasts are obviously an erogenous zone and therefore sexual…..for adult to adult contact.  The baby suckles at the breast but this is not sexual because of the context.  Even though suckling may be redolent of behaviors that occur in love making, it’s still different because it’s an infant.  Adults indulging in other adults’ breast milk however, is a sexualization of the context.  I’m assuming I don’t need to take this discussion of ingesting other’s bodily fluids any further to elucidate the unbridled sexuality within it.

Let me make something very clear.  When it comes to sexual behavior I say live and let live.  As long as you aren’t harming anyone and everybody involved is old enough and consenting, knock yourself out.  But having the right to engage in a behavior doesn’t make the behavior right.  While I’m sure there are men who would receive some depraved gratification from ingurgitating breast milk, most people, especially women, find the scenario incomprehensibly revolting.  In my opinion, adult individuals of either sex who find the prospect titillating, (pardon the pun), are tapping into a base sexuality to lurid to extrapolate further. 

On a more simplistic note, there will inevitably be the people who say:  “But it tastes good.  Don’t knock it until you try it.” I don’t care if it tastes good.  A pleasing flavor doesn’t trump all of the aforementioned medical concerns and intra-psychic aversions.  Although less sickening, I wouldn’t eat breast milk ice cream for the same reason I don’t eat kidneys:  Because I don’t have to.  I don’t need to eat an organ involved in an animal’s urination to taste something good.  Likewise, there’s no compelling reason for me to be bosom buddies with a conflation of miscellaneous women’s bodily fluids.   

This whole issue by the way is by no means limited to England.  Right here in America the mental cases at PETA entreated Ben & Jerry’s to make ice cream from human breast milk.  Ben & Jerry’s, of course not wanting to alienate any customers, took the politically correct route.  They declined PETA’s suggestion but “applauded” them for bringing attention to the issue.  Personally I find such kowtowing more nauseating than the breast milk.  I’m sorry but if you find partaking in cow’s milk more objectionable than human breast milk, you are indeed a boob. 

Speaking of boobs, the issue also doesn’t stop with ice cream.  There have been a number of chefs around the globe who have concocted various dishes with breast milk.  In 2008 Swiss chef Hans Lochen served entrees made from breast milk to his guests without telling them.  Eventually it came to the attention of the authorities and he was shut down. 

I am not surprised that someone deranged enough to make breast milk laden food would also be treacherous enough to serve it to people unannounced.  This is not a coincidental correlation.  In the movie “Red Dragon” cannibalistic, serial killer Hannibal Lecter is throwing a dinner party for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Board.  At one point a board members queries: “What is this divine looking amuse-bouche?” Lecter replies:  “If I tell you, I’m afraid you won’t even try it.”  Indeed!  Unbeknownst to the hapless board members, they are dining on the remains of orchestra’s flutist, recently killed by Lecter in retribution for his poor performance.  You can actually see the sadistic twinkle in Lecter’s eyes as he gazes on his guests’ surreptitious cannibalism.  Hannibal Lecter may be a fictitious character but the twisted dynamics are nothing new. 

On a final and more somber note, I pity the women amenable to selling their breast milk.  Are they so penurious that they’re willing to peddle their humanity?  Are they compromising their baby’s nourishment?  Are they so desperate that the money supersedes these issues?  Or is their mental state questionable as they get their own kooky little kick from sharing their milk with the world? 

Anyway you slice it this is not humanity’s finest hour.  It’s capitalism cashing in on debased impulses and lurid curiosity.  It’s downtrodden or dubious women compromising their personal integrity.  It’s lunatic organizations who place animals above humans.  It’s one more instance of how our culture continues to accept and sometimes glorify psychopathology.  And it’s yet another example of the slow degradation in society of its morals, values and sense of common decency.

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