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Just Like Mother Used To Make:

The Telegraph (UK) reports:

The owner of the Storchen restaurant in the exclusive Winterthur resort [in Switzerland] will improve his menu with local specialities such as meat stew and various soups and sauces containing at least 75 per cent of mother's milk.

The owner is advertising for suppliers, "who will receive just over three pounds for 14 ounces of their milk." Note that the milk "always needs to be mixed with a bit of whipped cream, in order to keep the consistency," says the owner.

Legal or not?, you might ask. The answer:

"Humans as producers of milk are simply not envisaged in the legislation.

"They are not on the list of approved species such as cows and sheep, but they are also not on the list of the banned species such as apes and primates," Rolf Etter of the Zurich food control laboratory said.

Thanks to my sister-in-law Hanah for the pointer.

Donald Clarke (www):
Jay Leno got there first last night with a joke about this - something about how it was going to be one of those "cook your own meal" deals.
9.20.2008 12:33am
an0n:
Since when are humans not primates?
9.20.2008 12:40am
GaryC (mail):
Hey, if we're not primates any more, what are we? Potted plants?
9.20.2008 12:41am
one of many:
Hey, if we're not primates any more, what are we? Potted plants?

Hmm, classifying humans as potted plants is obvious, a potted plant would also refer to a stoned narc, turning the entire populace, by definition, into government agents. Very cunning of those Swiss.
9.20.2008 12:54am
obi juan (mail):
No post about Barr's ballot lawsuit in Texas?
9.20.2008 1:05am
Thomas_Holsinger:
Perhaps they have a Chinese supplier.
9.20.2008 1:08am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Wow, someone caught the primates mistake on the 2nd post.
9.20.2008 2:08am
Can't find a good name:
Not only that, but an0n posted the exact same words I was thinking as I read the post.
9.20.2008 2:11am
JB:
Obi Juan,
Considering that this post is about mother's milk, I think a very different Barr lawsuit is relevant.

As to the original post, I think the idea is Very Nice!
9.20.2008 2:14am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Human milk seems suitable for prohibition on the same grounds as generic "primate" milk- the risk of disease transmission.

In the absence of any reasons to differentiate between the safety of lower primate and human milk, it seems fair to assume that the legislators meant to include humans in "primates," the biological category to which they already belong.
9.20.2008 2:23am
Grigor:
No doubt it sounds better in the original German.
9.20.2008 2:47am
theobromophile (www):
How does this improve the menu offerings?

If you're really going for the epicurean/gourmand thing, wouldn't you want to ensure a supply that is not only free of disease, but from women who have a certain diet? The diets that animals are fed influence the taste of both their meat and other products (eggs and milk). Seems like quality control would be tough.
9.20.2008 3:37am
SKardner (mail):
Seems like quality control would be tough.

Just make sure it's free range Vegan breast milk.
9.20.2008 6:24am
Zywicki (mail):
Eugene:
Your response is asking whether it is legal? Isn't the real response "ewwwwwww, yuck"?
9.20.2008 7:51am
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
If the Swiss law is reported correctly, isn't it ineptly written? Saying that only milk from species A, B, and C is legal would work. Saying that milk from any species except D, E, and F is legal would work. It is entirely unnecessary to list both permissible and prohibited species, even if you make sure to include every species on one list or the other.
9.20.2008 8:37am
Rizalist (www):
Uhmm, don't knock it till you've tried it folks. Mother's milk butter is as close to ambrosia as one can imagine. An ole time favorite in the Archipelago...
9.20.2008 8:49am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
I'm reminded of that classic Russian Folk Melody,

"You Left Me Breastless" by Ivana Snatchertitzoff.
9.20.2008 10:03am
Franklin Drackman:
My Mother never Breast Fed me, she said she liked me as a Friend.
9.20.2008 10:12am
Steve2:
So, which list is exclusive and which is examples-only, the prohibited or permitted one? I've seen lists before where there was a "list of examples of specifically prohibited items" augmenting an "exclusive list of permitted items". I believe the American Softball Association's rules for bats work that way, for instance.
9.20.2008 10:23am
Miked0268 (mail):
The EU is famous for needlessly intrusive regulations, but I'm not sure this is one of them. I would expect using human milk does present a serious risk of disease transmission. Humans are susceptible to infection from exactly the same types of pathogens as.....well, humans.
9.20.2008 12:37pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
The owner better hope that the Swiss court system isn't as messed up as the US. Just imagine a patron suing over the milk provider having taken some drug that caused damage to the patron, even with the restaurant-provider contract specifying that the provider shall be drug free.

I can also, however, make an admitidly poor ethical argument for excluding human providers from the general category of primates. Something like it has been determined by the legislature that primates are worth protecting from non-concentual milk extraction, but a human is capable of making such a choice.

As for the permitted/prohibited distinction, perhaps in the case of species not on either list the regulatory body has to make a determination, rather than look to statute.
9.20.2008 12:45pm
Fub:
TFA states:
...local specialities such as meat stew and various soups and sauces...
Miked0268 wrote at 9.20.2008 11:37am:
Humans are susceptible to infection from exactly the same types of pathogens as.....well, humans.
No doubt any US court would find that a rational basis to ban the practice. Yet science, and by now common sense, indicates that proper cooking destroys those pathogens. If the stews, soups and sauces are cooked, there is no rational reason to believe they would contain active pathogens.

So, any prohibition not limited to raw or uncooked dishes is based entirely upon a "yuck factor", or some social or even personal abhorrence entirely unrelated to actual physical health concerns.

Without addressing whether widespread personal squeamishness can be or should be a proper basis for any law, I think legislatures and courts should at least be required to state the real and honest reasons, and not rely on bogus "scientific reasons" to support such prohibitions.
9.20.2008 1:16pm
Miked0268 (mail):
Fub:

You're absolutely right about the cooking, but we're (I suppose) talking about er, "dairy products", which are in many recipes not really cooked. Normally you would use milk from the grocery store which is pasteurized.

Maybe they could do that - make sure the human milk is pasteurized. Or maybe it already is? If so, then there maybe really isn't a good rational basis.

On the other hand - "human products" possess a sort of unique risk pathogen-wise, and truly 100% reliable destruction of pathogens requires much higher temperatures than normal cooking or pasteurization.

It would be great if someone chimed in on this thread who actually knew what they were talking about (it sure ain't me!).
9.20.2008 1:25pm
MadHatChemist:
It is insane to say that human breast milk is not fit for human consumption. What do you think breasts are for? Why do you think that we are classified as "Mammals"???
9.20.2008 1:50pm
CDU (mail) (www):
The EU is famous for needlessly intrusive regulations, but I'm not sure this is one of them.


I'm quite positive it's not one of them, because Switzerland is not an EU country.
9.20.2008 1:52pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Why do you think that we are classified as "Mammals"???


Merely evolution anticipating the absolute fortune that would be available from pornography.
9.20.2008 2:15pm
Bama 1L:
In Switzerland as in the rest of Europe, a great deal of cheese is made from unpasteurized milk. As with raw oysters, you just take the chance.
9.20.2008 2:32pm
Jay Myers:
I guess this restaurant will be popular with cancer sufferers. Howard Cohen of Palo Alto claims that human breast milk reduces the side effects of chemotherapy. Of course he also says that it "doesn't taste all that pleasant. It's a bit oily and there's an after-taste."
9.20.2008 3:14pm
New dad:
I showed this story to my wife, and her response was to the effect that six bucks isn't nearly enough to justify the effort and discomfort necessary to extract fourteen ounces.
9.20.2008 4:08pm
Katl L (mail):
End of the world delayed
9.20.2008 4:56pm
mlstx (mail):
I'm assuming you know that there are human milk banks in the U.S.? They are designed to provide breast milk to infants whose mothers are not able to breast feed for a variety of health reasons. It's a shame that this restaurant is siphoning off (pun intended) breast milk that could be a huge medical benefit to some infants.

Breast bank milk is required to be pasteurized, which many believe will reduce the helpful effects of breast milk, so I know of a number of informal co-ops where lactating women share un-pasteurized breast milk with mothers who cannot breast feed or have inadequate milk supply. There have been friend-to-friend sharing for centuries, of course. And don't forget wet-nursing.
9.20.2008 6:07pm
Brett Bellmore:

Yet science, and by now common sense, indicates that proper cooking destroys those pathogens.


Actually, science indicates that prion diseases can be transmitted through cooked foods, being rather more stable than pathogens that actually need functioning DNA or RNA. I'm not sure whether prions end up in breast milk, though, and the diseases aren't terribly common, especially in women of lactating age.
9.20.2008 8:19pm
Mac (mail):
So, can the restaurant goers get upset tummies if the mother drinks coffee or orange juice or all of the other stuff that babies tummies seem to object to and forcing mother's and, if smart, fathers to give up?
9.20.2008 10:11pm
Fub:
Brett Bellmore wrote at 9.20.2008 7:19pm:
I'm not sure whether prions end up in breast milk, though, and the diseases aren't terribly common, especially in women of lactating age.
Agreed that prions aren't destroyed by cooking. Also unsure whether they wind up in any milk product, but I've never heard of it. Which, along with their relative rarity, is why I didn't raise them as an exception.
9.20.2008 10:46pm
Mac (mail):
Also, what about drugs the mother may have ingested? I don't think cooking gets rid of them, but I could be wrong. Your average primate probably doesn't do drugs, possibly making their milk safer, I would think.
9.20.2008 10:55pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Agreed that prions aren't destroyed by cooking


That's good, because they're expensive, and I understand there's a waiting list at the car dealers for them.
9.20.2008 11:35pm
Miked0268 (mail):
>>>I'm quite positive it's not one of them, because Switzerland is not an EU country.<<<

Duh! Pardon me.

Anyway, the larger point is - surely there is some medically authoritative answer out there as to whether selling human milk actually poses a meaningful health risk? I just have no idea how to research it.

And as others have pointed out, it is also a conundrum that any sterilization procedure that can destroy pathogens also has a pretty good chance of destroying whatever special health benefits there are from human milk.
9.21.2008 12:33pm
theophylact:
Seems to me this is what Exodus 23:19 and Deuteronomy 14:21 were aimed at.
9.21.2008 8:12pm