PETA vs. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream: would you eat frozen breast milk?

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On September 23, 2008, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging them to substitute cow’s milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk.

PETA organized over two million individuals who support their mission in persuading the company to change the use of human breast milk in their ice cream saying it would reduce the suffering of cows and calves and give ice cream lovers a healthier product.

The idea to use breast milk was developed by Hans Locher, a Swiss gastronomist and owner of restaurant Storchen, in the exclusive Winterthur resort, Switzerland. After announcing that he will serve meals cooked with human breast milk in September, the restaurant owner said he will revamp his menu of local specialties such as meat-stew, and other soups and sauces containing at least 75% of mother’s milk from human donors who are paid in exchange.

Locher stated that desirable dishes can be cooked with breast milk; however, the milk needs to be mixed with whipped cream in order to keep its consistency.

In PETA’s letter to Cohen and Greenfield, Tracy Reiman, Executive Vice President of PETA, expressed that, “using cow’s milk for ice cream is a hazard to a customer’s health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer.”

Although it has been proven by various doctors that breast-fed infants have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies, and other medical problems than bottle-fed babies, there are 4,000 species of mammals, and they all make different milk. Human milk is made for human infants and not adult human consumption, according to Ruth Lawrence, M.D., professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, N.Y., and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A mother’s milk and a cow’s milk are not interchangeable substances.

According to the National Dairy Council, a leader in nutrition research and education since 1915, ice cream and frozen yogurt are great ways for consumers to get high-quality protein, calcium, riboflavin (B2) and other essential vitamins and minerals.

“Ice cream is made by stirring, while freezing, a pasteurized mix of one or more dairy ingredients: milk, concentrated fat-free milk, cream, condensed milk, and other standard ice cream ingredients,” the National Dairy Council.

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. strives on using nothing but the finest quality ingredients in their ice cream and receive all of their milk from cows in Vermont.

According to Ben & Jerry’s official website, their product mission promises to make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the earth and the environment.

So far, most of the ice cream eating community has turned up their noses in the idea of using a mother’s milk in ice cream.

“I think the idea is just disgusting,” said Courtney Bunnell, a senior at Luzerne County Community College. “If Ben and Jerry actually passed this idea, I would go out and buy their original ice cream recipe in bulk because I wouldn’t want to eat ice cream with breast milk.”

“I don’t agree with the idea,” said Holly Peters, a sophomore occupational therapy major. “It’s just gross and I don’t see where you could get all that breast milk.”

Allison Martin, 19, is a sophomore who eats Ben & Jerry’s ice cream about three times a month. She said she understands PETA’s idea that breast milk is healthy, but doesn’t see herself ever consuming ice cream that was made of a mother’s milk.

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. feels the same.

“We applaud PETA’s novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother’s milk is best used for her child,” said a spokesperson for Ben and Jerry’s.

Comments

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5 COMMENTS

  1. ok for the most part i think PETA is a potentially great organization that has just became a group that would appear to care more about animals then their fellow human. i believe all animals used for food should be treated very well. but lets be honest pigs, chickens, and cows would probably be extinct long ago if there wasn’t a desire to keep them alive for food. but still as weird as it is, human milk IS more natural for us. it does make sense. I’d be willing to try it we have no problem with cow and goat milk why should the milk we were raised on be disgusting to us? would u rather drink the milk of a foreign animal that just eats grass all day or someone the same species as u that eats the same diet as u

  2. But breast milk is natural for us as INFANTS. As we get older it doesn’t make sense to drink it…or eat it. I think that if they made ice cream out of human milk they would lose a lot of business.

  3. I think PETA is just trying to get publicity, eating ice cream made with breastmilk is absolutely crazy. There are numerous reasons why making icecream with breastmilk is not a good idea.

    Diseases could easily be transferred and it would be impossible and expensive to mass produce it. Breastfeeding mothers are warned not to drink alcohol, take certain prescribed pills, and many other things! There is a reason that they shouldn’t; because it is transferred to the babies. (although the effects would probably be miniscule to adults.)

    Cows milk might not be healthy but it is acceptable because we’ve been drinking it for so long. At least we know where the cows have been.

  4. I do not like PETA whatsoever. This is one of their few effective activities. It’s my understanding that PETA believes that carnivores are speciesist.

    “speciesism n. The belief in the intrinsic superiority of the human species over all others, often accompanied by an assumption that human beings are therefore justified in exploiting non-human animals for their own advantage. Compare ableism, ageism, ethnocentrism, fattism, heterosexism, racism, sexism.”

    As a meat eater, I do believe humans are more important than other animals. PETA is trying to bring out the point that if you find it total acceptable to take the milk from another species, hook it up to machines, and consume the milk that was produced for their offspring—then why wouldn’t it be acceptable for your own species? They want you to visualize women being hooked up to a machine and producing milk all day long. And then given hormones to produce more milk for ice cream production and so on.

    Even look at this article “I think the idea is just disgusting,” said Courtney Bunnell
    -Human breast milk is intended for human consumption, while cow milk is intended for calves and NOT HUMANS. But Courtney finds human milk disgusting and probably has no problem consuming cow milk. It’s a great hypocrisy and I’m a part of it.

  5. I’m really glad this article has raised a few brows!! (haha)

    Personally, I believe PETA is a great oranization — as a fellow animal lover, I don’t eat certain meats not because there are some unethical treatments of animals in certain parts of the world, but on the mere fact that I don’t really like the taste…On the other hand, I could never live without my milk!! It’s a proven fact that a cow’s milk is an essential factor in a human’s daily diet. Vitamins that come from a cow is completely different than the nutrients from a mother’s breast milk.

    Although this is quite an idea, I’d never eat ice cream made with breast milk…my friends and I would surely buy the original Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in bulk if they ever decided to change the make-up.

    FYI — Ben and Jerry’s are NOT considering this idea…

    Thank you for reading…as a health guru, I’ll keep you posted on the next big move in the food industry!!! =)

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