Breastmilk ice-cream

Icecreamists, an ice-cream parlour in London's Covent Garden, is selling human breast milk ice-cream for £14 a scoop. The breastmilk is purchased from lactating mothers, and the product (called "Baby Gaga") is intended to raise awareness of breastmilk's deliciousness and encourage more breastfeeding. The milk is pasteurised and flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla pods.
"Some people will hear about it and go yuck - but actually it's pure organic, free-range and totally natural."

Mrs Hiley, who gets £15 for every 10 ounces of milk she donates to the company, said it was a great "recession beater".

"What's the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash?" she added.

"I teach women how to get started on breastfeeding their babies. There's very little support for women and every little helps."

Mr O'Connor said health checks for the lactating women were the same used by hospitals to screen blood donors.

Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden (via Neatorama)

(Image: The IceCreamists. Guerilla Ice Cream @ Selfridges, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from evert-jan's photostream)


  1. Well, surely the milk/ice-cream isn’t organic unless the mother is living of purely organic foods and beverages…

    1. I mostly go ‘yuck’ because cow milk comes from a federally regulated industry. Check out a list of things that can be transmitted via breast milk. It ranges from prescription drugs to STDs.

      It’s very easy to find milk that hasn’t been produced with growth hormones. I’d rather do that then roll the dice on the HIV table for wacky ice cream. Even if the pasteurization is done correctly, that would have very little effect on any pharmacologically active substances that are being passed on.

  2. I’m going with “yuck”. Not on principle because it comes from humans or whatever, but because I’ve tasted breastmilk, back when I was expressing to top up my son’s feeds, and I just don’t like the taste. It might be organic, and free range, but that doesn’t mean it’ll taste great.

  3. Victoria’s my wife. She actually didn’t say those things – it’s just PR blippage. In reality, she’s a breast-feeding volunteer and has become increasingly worried about how repulsed and alienated people are about breastmilk in our society. This seemed a fun way of letter her send out the normalise message. In the interviews she’s done, a lot of people have stopped and thought for a moment why they consider it normal to drink calves’ milk, but DISGUSTING to drink human milk. Even in that brief pause, there’s good.

  4. If the mother is on a strict organic diet and has een for several years then sure.
    Not too many humans get to be free range anymore, especially in places like the UK.
    I think the cows and hens at good farms tend to have a lower stress life than most mothers.

  5. I don’t have a problem with it per se, but my immediate thought of is the kind of women who would do this needs extra cash, so I have this image of a Marlboro smoking redneck watching Oprah while she runs the pump.

  6. I had this idea years ago, never thought it would be taken seriously by anyone, let alone invested on.

    If i was into betting i’d bet this is getting banned very soon…

    Breastmilk is the ultimate food, but not for me unless i know the mother, otherwise it’s YUCK

  7. “my immediate thought of is the kind of women who would do this needs extra cash, so I have this image of a Marlboro smoking redneck watching Oprah while she runs the pump”

    a) Victoria, my wife in this story, isn’t like that :-)
    b) Even if she were, the milk’d still probably be better for you than cows’ milk, which was designed for calves, not humans.
    c) She had her expenses paid, but this was not the point of the exercise. As I mentioned in an anonymous posting (before my login was confirmed), she did it as a breast-feeding volunteer as a way of trying to do something about the destructive and peculiar taboo we have about human milk in particular Western societies.

    1. Sorry Bokkiedog, no offense intended, your wife is a special one-off. I’m an economist, I was thinking about business trends and commercially viability.

    1. Honestly, what ‘destructive and peculiar taboo’?
      There are still loads of people breastfeeding their babies. So that’s great. I don’t see anything peculiar and destructive there.

      However, as far as I can tell there is no real established practice within any human culture or amongst any group of mammals anywhere of adults drinking a mother’s milk.

      Now I’m not poo-pooing the idea. If people want to drink human breastmilk, then by all means go for it. However, classifying some people’s reactions to this as a ‘destructive and peculiar taboo’ is completely absurd.

  8. Vampire 1: “I am so totally a fan of free-range humans.”

    Vampire 2: “Me too. Last week I had a Marlboro smoking lactating redneck for dinner and my stars, I was gassy for days. And the taste. . .”

    Vampire 1: “Not good?”

    Vampire 2: “Oh my, not good at all. Give me a socially-conscious lactating Londoner any day. The worst thing I can say about that is they they have a bit of a grassy finish, as opposed to the corn finish you get here.”

    Vampire 1: “True, true.”

  9. I, too, once accidentally drank breastmilk. I was about 14 and my mother expressed milk for my baby sister into my favourite cup. So when I saw my cup in the fridge, I thought I’d forgotten that I’d poured milk and took a big swallow. Bloody hell, it was vile. Sugary and a bad texture. So I imagine that it wouldn’t transform well into icecream.

  10. Having an infant in the house I’m constantly heating bottles of breast milk and putting a few drops on my hand to test the temperature. With no time to wash my hands, because of a screaming baby at 2 am, I lick it off. It’s sweet, thick and has the faint flavor of wheat. Perfect for ice cream if you think about it. Plus it’s being combined with all sorts of tasty goodness like sugar and flavorings. I’d bet if anyone ate the ice cream without knowing it had human breast milk in it they’d think it was at the very least normal and at best very good.

  11. Blaine, there are very few medications and diseases that can be passed through breast milk in sufficient quantities to cause harm.

    However, I was given the same blood tests that blood donors get. All clear, hardly surprising when my daughter is thriving.

  12. Blaine: my wife had to have a full screening, including HIV test, before she was allowed to donate milk. So have no fear. Next objection!

  13. “However, as far as I can tell there is no real established practice within any human culture or amongst any group of mammals anywhere of adults drinking a mother’s milk”.

    That’s actually incorrect. Mongolia, for example, as well as quite a few other cultures, either now or in the past.

    But yes, we’re not going to set up herds of mothers to produce this stuff; however, it’s about time we stopped being so squeamish about it. When she was pregnant, one of my wife’s colleagues asked whether she was intending to breastfeed. She confirmed she was, and the response was “eww, yuck!”

    It’s a shame that we should be so alienated from our mammalhood. Indeed, it’s much more than a shame: read The Politics of Breastfeeding.

  14. Hm. I think I’m going to have to go with my usual reaction to “weird” foods here.

    1. Ew! I’m not eating that!

    2. Um. Enjoy, I guess? I’m not going to say you can’t eat what you want to…

  15. The problem isn’t with breastfeeding a baby, I think most people are okay with that. What makes the act of an adult drinking human breast milk seem so vile, is the thought of drinking another person’s bodily fluids.

    1. Yes, all those poor porn actresses and those that enjoy such filthy acts. May we never find out whose wife swallows and whose one spits.

  16. I guess do what you like. But if you have so much breast milk you feel like making ice cream from it, maybe you could donate it to orphanages or hospitals for babies that could really use it.

  17. Wow, BB is grumpy today. This is awesome.

    I (think I) understand the point you’re making re: the healthful nature of human milk, and have no quarrel with your use of the term “organic”.

    That said, I’m having fun wondering what a formal certification for organic human milk (or, for that matter, meat) would look like, and how many of us would actually qualify… Even if you buy organic groceries for home, how many free passes a month do you get to go to restaurants, or eat products that aren’t available in an organic form? How long do you have to have been on that regimen before your milk becomes organic? What about all the things that expose us to solvents – nail polish, freshly painted rooms, dry cleaned clothes, pumping gasoline, hair spray, and so on?

    As far as smoking goes – while I don’t think many mothers who would be into a project of this nature would be smokers, I don’t see why it should be a disqualifier. Nicotine is an allowed organic pesticide, at least in Canada.

  18. I’ll confess to having tasted from the tap when my wife was nursing our firstborn. I thought it was sweet and delicious, but that was the only sample as she was a bit grossed out over it. Made me giggle, because, yeah, it’s pretty bizarre that we’d drink the fluid from another animal but not the stuff that was designed for us. In both cases though it’s still strange, because it’s designed for babies, not adults of any species.

    I’d definitely buy some if it was local, if for no other reason than to gross out everybody else.

    1. I had the same experience as stater. I thought I tasted heavenly. According to the reports here, women are less likely to enjoy the taste of breast milk, men more likely. Or maybe it has to do with the nature of the dispenser….

  19. As someone who has actually had human breastmilk ice cream, from three different women, no less, I can attest that it tastes quite good, and after you’ve had it, it doesn’t really seem weird anymore. The most interesting part was that the three women’s milk each had a distinct flavor – neither better or worse as far as I could tell, but each noticeably different.

    If you get a chance to actually try some, instead of just pontificating about it, go for it!

  20. The bit that got me was that you could order it with a topping of Calpol (kids’ liquid paracetamol) or Bonjela (mouth ulcer gel). Ew.

    And the “why is it OK to drink cow’s milk” doesn’t wash – I’m cool with having a nice steak, but is it OK to eat human flesh?

    1. “I’m cool with having a nice steak, but is it OK to eat human flesh?”

      Well, the population is zooming out of control … and IF the meat was tested and inspected for safety …

      Why I can just imagine vast herds of humanimals thundering across the Great Plains, being rounded up by rugged peopleboys.

      Ah, that’s the life.

  21. It was my milk they were eating. I didn’t want to see any go to waste.

    Of course I didn’t say those things, it was PR guff. I wasn’t paid as such at all.

    I was tested for all diseases that can be transmitted through breast milk, these are mercifully few. I also have a thriving 15 month old baby as evidence of my syphilis free status.

    Pidg, the two do not equate. We are all mammals, we are all brought up on milk. Human milk is produced by humans, for human consumption. It doesn’t hurt me to make it.

    I have enjoyed being able to dispel some breastfeeding myths over the last couple of days: that expressing isn’t an indication of supply, that you don’t have to eat special food, that it isn’t a particular disease vector and that somehow we consider it strange to drink a fluid made for humans by humans yet happily put cow milk in our tea: milk made by a cow for a baby cow.

    For the record, the ice cream is very nice.

  22. My wife likes to say that the real reason that people like ice cream, although it’s never stated, is that it subconsciously reminds them of breast milk. Human milk is much sweeter and heavier than cow’s milk, and the way we prepare ice cream is basically a simulation of that. I’ve had small amounts of the real thing while my wife was lactating, and it’s very good, especially when frozen. Extra flavorings are not required. A little math will convince you that it’s not a viable business, so this is clearly a stunt, but a useful one.

  23. Some people will buy anything. I’ve always hoped that eventually somebody would start marketing monkey cheese. Hell, any mammal would do. Rats, cats, dogs.

    Do dolphins produce milk?

  24. The thing I object to isn’t the human breast milk its the £14 a scoop.

    For that kind of money is should be served on boobs

  25. I don’t know what everyone is so grossed out about. What else do you order for dessert after a big helping of soylent green?

  26. I bet you could make ice cream out of goat’s milk or camel milk or yak milk or whatever – but that doesn’t necessarily make it ok. Hell, I bet with enough sugar and other crap added to yak milk that it would taste just like cow’s milk ice cream. Wouldn’t make it any less disgusting, though.

  27. There’s more background to this story, background of the donors and what became the confiscated ice cream product at ( Icecreamists obtained breast milk donors by posting the equivalent of a help wanted sign, in the form of an advertisement, on a parenting website called mumsnet. The ice cream store basically has absolutely no idea as to the background of the fifteen women that it accepted as breast milk donors, despite any general testing that it claims its done. Viruses are spread through breastmilk in shocking similarity to other bodily fluids and that could easily amount to an epidemic.

    Interestingly though, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wrote a letter to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Vermont) a couple years back, asking the U.S.-based ice cream manufacturer to actually use breast milk in place of cow’s milk. That letter was somewhere near 2007, though no United States ice cream maker currently uses breast milk in any of its products. One small, independent ice cream shop has been debating offering a product with breast milk in its ingredients but hasn’t to date.

    Icecreamists claimed only days ago that the breast milk ice cream was entirely sold out, and even posted a sign to that effect in its window. Despite the sign that no more Baby Gaga ice cream would be available until supplies were available, on Monday morning the government confiscated the product. If nothing else, the ice cream shop should be ashamed of lying and its obvious lack of ethics. That in itself should make any patrons consider going elsewhere for dessert.

    Using breast milk is an interesting concept but only if the proper health procedures could ensure that viruses would be guaranteed not to spread through use of bodily fluids in food products. As of now, because breast milk isn’t readily used in food products, no country really has a safety procedure in place that would ensure an absolute lack of contamination or spread of viruses. A fail-safe safety screening should be instituted first, before any food product is allowed to contain a bodily fluid.

  28. It’s frozen, so it’s sterile. The first I heard of this, the first thing that went through my mid wasn’t “ew disgusting” it was “where on God’s green Earth can I get this?” And damn it, I will gladly pay 14 pounds for a scoop of this. I’m just curious. It’s sort of like caviar, in the sence that it’s expensive, but it’s still fish eggs.

  29. I am currently breastfeeding my son, so I don’t really find this gross as much as I find it odd. Imagine seeing people around town eating ice cream possibly made from the milk you donated? That’s a little too familiar for me.

    The thought that actually crossed my mind first was that this is a waste of breastmilk! There are mothers out there who can’t breastfeed their babies, or babies in adoptive services, or whose mothers passed away soon after they were born, who could be using this donated milk. Instead, adults are eating it as ice cream. That’s not right.

  30. I don’t know what was in the other womans milk that tasted bad but maybe she ate to much onions or something lol My milk taste sweet and great, my husband and I both have tasted my expressed milk there is nothing wrong with it I make my 8 month old mama’s milk popscyles and yogurt and put the milk in all his foods it is so healthy , sidenote: my son has never gotten so much as a cold or any other illness at all!!! Nothing wrong with human milk…It it not a design flaw that we don’t produce cows milk..cows milk is for baby cows HELLO!! Human milk for humans makes perfect sense, people who are grossed out by it are seriously closed minded and need to live a little….

  31. Hello, as one of my friends said ‘Human milk for humans makes perfect sense, people who are grossed out by it are seriously closed minded and need to live a little….’

    I just want to say that drinking human milk by an adult human is like eating flesh of the human. We drink cow milk and we also eat cow flesh. Now if we drink human milk , we may also inclined to eat human… just think.

    The other point is that, cows are created by God to feed us, while breast milk is only for our children, so we should not snatch food of our babies.

Comments are closed.