Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm sure PETA's ice cream request had the breast of intentions

Niagara This Week - Friday, October 3, 2008


Imagine the look you'd get if you popped into Teddy's Sports Bar and asked the waitress for a breast milk and Kahlua?

Now, as you read that, you may, indeed be having one of several like reactions:

1) You may be looking for a barf bucket;

2) What is the editor smoking?

3) Is that a typo?

4) Is it April Fools?

5) Yeah, you'd do that if you want a punch in the nose.

6) Wow! Teddy's is on the cutting edge of food service trends.

If you're following at home, #6 would be the correct answer.

The good folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have made a request of ice cream manufacturers Ben & Jerry's to make their products with human breast milk, as opposed to that of our four-hooved, traditional milk suppliers.


No, you read it right. You may want to go back and scan again, but it's right. Heck, it was on the Internet, so it must be right, eh?

Actually it got quite bit of press and air time in the last 10 days.

While I think the request is ridiculous, that is not to say it has no merit at all.

There are a lot of concern with the hormone laden end-products in the dairy sector mainly in the United States. Canada has much more stringent guidelines in terms of what cows can be given in order to produce more milk. In the U.S., beef and dairy cattle, as well as poultry can get regular doses of a host of substances not allowed in Canada.

These substances can bolster milk production or make the animals meatier, much faster than traditional methods. One could say they make the food chain more efficient.

The notion of breast milk as an ingredient in day-to-day products met with a variety of comments - many not suitable for this publication - during a family function over the weekend.

I am quite certain our readers are bright enough to conjure their own punchlines.

At any rate, I had to chuckle at the subdued response from a B & J spokesman after the request went public. "The company applauds PETA's creative approach to bring attention to an issue, but believes that a mother's milk is best used by a child."

Now, that quote in the wire story carried across the U.S. was not a direct quote, most likely because it would have included belly laughter as part of the quote if it were to be accurate.

But, there are innovators who will to take a shot at variety and notoriety.

Take Hans Locher. Here is a Swiss born chef who decided to start making recipes in his establishment using human breast milk.

His restaurant, Storchen, in the village of Iberg, Switzerland, near the resort of Winterthur, used the milk in a variety of dishes. He obtained the milk after advertising in German newspapers looking for donors. The initial response was positive.

If you have ever been to Switzerland, or West Lincoln for that matter, dairy farmers take great pride in their vocation. It is hard to believe being usurped by human breast milk would not "sour" them.

Without going too far down the road of sublime and travelling right into the ridiculous, it should suffice to say there is a litany of reasons why this would not be appropriate.

On the health front, any mother knows, what they eat is what their infant eats.

How would donors be screened? Could drug use cause a problem. I would have to think so, but it is almost too silly to think about.

Mr. Locher was paying about $24 CAD per litre of breast milk, so it wasn't cheap.

I think I'll just stick with my good old cookies and moo juice, thanks.

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