Breast milk ice cream hits the shops

Updated on 02 October 2011 | 0 Comments

Ice cream made from breast milk is now being sold in London. But is it safe to eat?

It’s embarrassingly easy to get jealous of babies.  They’re showered with attention, they have the cutest clothes, and they don’t have to go to work or pay the bills… but a diet of breast milk?  Now that’s one thing most of us are happy to leave to the little ones. 

But a new Covent Garden ice cream store called The Icecreamists might just change that.  When founder Matt O’Connor opened up shop about two weeks ago, he did so with a vision that would soon become a reality: ice cream made with human breast milk.

“I would have thought it was a joke, but I know Matt personally,” says The Icecreamists supervisor Luisa Hill.  “I just thought, that’s Matt for you.”

Wait… really?

Yes, really.  The clever publicity stunt, sorry, I mean, the ice cream has created such a buzz that it has unfortunately caught the eye of Westminster City Council, who recently confiscated it in order to test its safety for consumption. After all, viruses and diseases such as hepatitis can be passed through breast milk. It is a human body fluid after all!

Nevertheless, The Icecreamists employees maintain that the ice cream – dubbed Baby Gaga – has already been fully screened and pasteurized.

The shop’s request for breast milk was advertised to mothers who wanted to earn a bit of extra cash in this forum on Mumsnet, to which the first response was: “Urgh”. 

Pricey but tasty?

Despite the fact that each serving was priced at a whopping £14, Baby Gaga has been much more successful with the general public than with the authorities.  Not only did customers buy the ice cream, they bought all of it; The Icecreamists sold out of the innovative flavour within a day. 

Not everyone enjoyed it, of course, but the majority response was positive – too positive, considering the shop’s short supply of breast milk.  When Baby Gaga was introduced, the breast milk required was coming from just one woman.

“Obviously we can’t just pump it out like cow’s milk,” says Hill.

Though it may sound like a delicacy for only the most adventurous palates, Baby Gaga might not be as out there as it sounds.  Hill says the ice cream (which is mixed with vanilla) is a bit sweeter than regular ice cream, but otherwise not very different – to those who can keep an open mind, of course. 

The breast milk ice cream market

O’Connor isn’t the first to dream up some wacky ice cream; Heladeria Coromoto in Venezuela sells cheeseburger ice cream, and San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe counts salt and pepper among its flavours.  But there’s reason to believe that Baby Gaga may be more than just a novelty.

“There are loads of animal rights people trying to get Ben & Jerry’s to go for breast milk,” says Hill.  “I think there’s a market out there for it.” 

Coming to a supermarket near you?

So will we ever see breast milk ice cream in tubs at the supermarket?  Only time can tell.  But if Westminster council deems it safe enough to lift the ban, why not give it a try?  As Hill says, if people stop being scared of what they don’t know, they just might be able to embrace the flavour.

And if that fails, you’ll experience the rare joy of shocking people when you tell them what you ate for dessert last night. 

Written by Kate Eberle

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