Food safety fears halt sale of breast milk ice cream

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Milk

Breast milk ice cream could potentially harbour illness-causing viruses
Breast milk ice cream could potentially harbour illness-causing viruses
The IceCreamists in Covent Garden has removed its Baby Gaga breast milk ice cream from sale over fears the product could transmit viruses.

After receiving several complaints from members of the public, Westminster City Council launched an investigation into whether the ice cream, made from donated breast milk, is safe for human consumption.

A sample of the ice cream is being tested by the Health Protection Agency for a number of viruses, including hepatitis, which can be transmitted through the ingestion of the product.

Richard Block, operations manager for food health and safety at Westminster City Council, said the investigation was being made with the full cooperation of the IceCreamists.

“We haven’t banned the IcCreamists from selling the breast milk ice cream; they’ve voluntarily agreed not to sell it while we carry out some tests at a laboratory to see if the ice cream is free from any viruses that would cause people illness if they were to consume it.

“With cow's milk there are various testing regimes right down the food chain back to the herd themselves. The same principle applies here to ensure that something consumed by humans, is in fact safe to be consumed.”

Donations

The IceCreamists began selling Baby Gaga ice cream on Thursday, with milk donated from just 15 mothers, and had sold out of the product by Friday lunchtime. Owner Matt O’Connor said that over 200 mothers had now stepped forward to donate breast milk for the ice cream.

He told BigHospitality that the breast milk had been screened to hospital standards by a private clinic prior to sale, and that the business was fully compliant with all food health and safety regulations.

“Westminster has told us the Baby Gaga ice cream is not to be sold as it’s potentially dangerous; they haven’t checked with us whether it's been screened,” he said.

“We started Baby Gaga because we wanted people to question where our milk comes from. We only posed a question.

“If we’re going to live in a society that’s absurd and insane enough to think it’s perfectly acceptable to drink alcohol that can kill you, or smoke yourself to death or take other drugs like amyl nitrate, which is perfectly legal to buy in Westminster, yet breast milk is seen as a danger to children, I say empty your babies’ bottles, fill them with Jack Daniels and give them to your kids.”

Legal?

Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency has also launched an investigation into whether the sale of a human by-product is legal at all.

A statement issued by the FSA said: “Food businesses are legally obliged to ensure the food they serve is safe to consume. We understand that Westminster Council are investigating the sale of this ice cream product and we are liaising with their environmental health team and the Health Protection Agency over whether the product breaches food safety regulations.”

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