Intro

All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

The Icecreamists do breastmilk ice cream BADLY!

In my humble opinion of course *cough*.

Lady Gaga threatens legal action over 'Baby Gaga' breast milk ice cream

Dum dum dum!! and so the saga continues.
I thought at first the action was just based on the name - but reports have since stated the ice cream is served by a waitress dressed as Lady Gaga.  So, to be fair I can kinda see her issue!

Don't get me wrong, I find it ironic that someone who wears an outfit made of raw meat could call breastmilk ice cream "icky" (did anyone tell her it's screened and pasteurised and so very likely contains far less "ick" than a typical bovine based ice cream?) but hey maybe she's just not a fan of frozen desserts!

But I have bigger and (to me) more interesting problems with "The Icecreamists", the company responsible for "baby gaga" ice cream".

Ya gotta wonder how the in house discussions went - mmm how shall we present the breastmilk ice cream?  I've got it!! Let's add a shot of Bonjella or Calpol and a bottle!

I'm not really sure what it says about our society that the three obvious items were two pharma meds and a bottle; and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who raised an eyebrow at the fact the brand of bottle shown is from a company reported as not adhering to code of breastmilk substitutes!

Pft...

If a milk bottle is a must, at least something like this resembling a breast is in keeping ;)

The biggest problem is (to me) that of paying for breastmilk.  "Good on the mum", some have said or " would be happy to donate at that price!"  It's claimed "The Icecreamists" pay £15 per 10oz and therein I think is the potential problem.

Some mums can express say 8oz per session, several times per day - nice little earner; however there is also the risk that at this price some mothers will express and donate for money, whilst buying much cheaper breastmilk substitutes for their own infant.  Some exclusively pumping mums boast 40oz per day  - that's £60 in cold hard cash, or £300 per week.  I wonder if donating mums are required to declare and pay tax on the sale of their bodily fluids ? ;)  Will donors have to watch their backs for "breastmilk pimps" with those rates of pay?

I for one would have been more impressed to see a pay rate of half that, and half donated to a charity or organisation.  Perhaps the Association of Breastmilk Banks (UKAMB) or even a breastfeeding support organisation.

There is of course the risk that breastmilk banks could suffer in this whole human ice cream revolution.  "Mums can donate where they want" and "not everyone can donate to a breastmilk bank" are two replies I have heard a lot.  Both of which are of course true, to the first I would say they absolutely can, however is it a level playing field when one is a faceless donation and the other offers financial gain?

Furthermore, not many mums have (luckily) been in the position of being sat in an NICU, watching doctors work 24/7 on a 27 weeker and a beyond distraught mother who will soon be under immense pressure to express adequate amounts.  Or seen the tiny 31 weekers receiving breastmilk substitutes via iv tube because the banks are dry - especially when you know how vulnerable some of these infants are.  Or been in a position of having to sat hour after hour on the breastpump, day and night for their 34 weeker, desperately trying to get a feed ahead because there is an overwhelming panic that at the next feed he may want more than you have - which of course only serves to hinder the milk ejection reflex.  As the banks have little funding to get their message out there, they rely on those passionate to help.

The second point is right, not all women can donate to milk banks - but "The Icecreamists" aren't likely to only accept these donors.  Even if they were would this even be fair?  So it seems to me a financial donation per sale would be a sensible consideration - to hep protect the Nation's most vulnerable.

At the moment human breastmilk is all a bit shock horror - to a culture deeply entrenched in consuming the lactational fluids of a cow, not another person of the same species; the concept is mind boggling.  But this knee jerk reaction will change over time, the potential health reasons to eat alone are interesting - let alone those avoiding dairy or who want to make a positive environmental contribution.  Perhaps we ought to watch out, otherwise maybe the future will resemble this controversial billboard campaign that MAdGE (Mothers Against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment) ran in 2003 ;)


UPDATE
Well for the first time in rather a long time, I've been censored lol!

I posted this blog piece on the Facebook wall of "The Icecreamist".  If I discuss anyone in my piece, I often send them a copy so they have right to reply - I feel it only fair; after all they may have a totally different point of view or want to correct some misinformation.

Posting it on their wall was tricky for a start - see they don't allow mmbers to start a wall topic.  So I replied under another thread linking them to the blog and saying I had posted the link where I did as the wall was limited to The Icecreamist only.

I received the reply:
"Ref the wall, oddly enough given this is The Icecreamist's Facebook page it tends to be restricted to Icecreamisst material." (yes he did spell his own company wrong!)
Followed by:
We are sure our donor mum Victoria Hiley will have a view on your post also!

Well oddly enough Mr Smarty Pants a whole lot of corporate pages allow their "fans" to start a new topic - so the sarcasm really misses the spot.  And of course donor mum is welcome to comment, I don't think I've said anything untoward?

I then found my link deleted and myself removed from their Facebook group! (for the record I have NEVER been removed from a group before, even when I've protested at Annabel Karmel or Nestle!!)  I rejoined to reply to the above comment, but found I have been censored and am not allowed to comment on the group...

Nice....

22 comments:

  1. I believe the founder of The Icecreamists used to be involved in Fathers for Justice. So a) getting press attention and b) not liking women much is not really a new thing for him ...

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  2. I'd say it's a publicity stunt. Matt seems nice enough (he's married to my husbands cousin), but he does court publicity in a lot of his ventures.
    Any spare milk belongs in a milk bank. No if's or buts there. I was Lucky and pumped enough for both of mine who ended up in NICU, but I sat beside women who just couldn't make it work both times. The stress and fear is horrendous, and if you think the advice and support for breast feeding is lacking, the help for expressing is far far worse. The things I was told are shocking and detrimental.
    But Mr O'Connor is a self publicist (though I don't think he is misogynistic, and to be fair F4J had a point, they just expressed it in dubious ways)

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  3. Thanks Doris :)

    Joy - have to confess I don't know much about Fathers for Justice, or whether Mr Icecreamist does/doesn't like women; agree with the publicity aspect though.

    Anon - I think breastmilk ice cream alone called "baby gaga" without the calpol/bonjella "gaga waitress" would have caused just as much publicity - well except for the upsetting of Lady Gaga of coure! Only guessing but most of the focus has been around the fact it's breastmilk - the rest hasn't seemed to cause much stir.
    I also think he could have got really positive media attention if as I suggested he had donated half the fee he pays anyway to milk banking.

    I've since heard that the lady he uses is a donor for UKAMB - note "heard" not proven. in some ways this makes it worse at it is milk that likely otherwise WOULD have gone to the banks - why not use the mum of an older infant who cannot donate to banks? I know a lot that had spare 7-9 months+ but were too old to "donate".

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  4. Such a shame that the older infant mums can't donate. I agree though that for the brief amount of time a woman is allowed to donate her milk it should go fully into the banks, not into the pocket!

    MammyDoula

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  5. Mars, donors must start donating before the baby is 6 months old but she can continue to donate past 6 mo.

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  6. As another update - someone has emailed me (thank you) and said the donors infant was too old for UKMB donation. So er a different story from the one someone else was told by The Icecreamist *shruggs*

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  7. I was going to say that - perhaps the donor's baby is too old for donation to a Milk Bank. I've been donating to a Milk Bank & my baby turns one on Friday, so sadly I have to stop donating. As I've been expressing 130mls for them every day it's become routine for me & now I have 130mls of excess milk per day - although not sure I'd sell it to an ice cream shop! Do you think there's any way this could be a good thing because it's got people talking about breastmilk & drawing attention to the weirdness of humans drinking cow's milk, but feeling odd about drinking human milk?

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  8. Hi
    I never suggested the concept of breastmilk ice cream wasn't a good thing - I'm unsure about the way it has been done...

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  9. I agree - it could have been done in a much better way & think perhaps it's given people even more reason to think everything to do with breastmilk is just strange. Missed opportunity really, but then I'm sure promoting the image of breastfeeding was the last thing on their minds!

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  10. Rosie, look for the group 'Human milk for Human babies' You may have an outlet for yor excess milk if a mum in your area needs some donor milk :)

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  11. Ashley Doula MacDonald6 March 2011 at 21:18

    I am utterly stunned by the presentation of the baby gaga ice cream. Bonjela and a bottle - seriously?! Seriously?! How old is the icecreamist? This seems a PR stunt by someone who just hasn't a clue! Thank you for finally separating the issue of consuming b-milk from what is happening here, it has been so difficult to find the words to say when this has come up in the last few weeks. Yum to b.milk ice cream, yuck to base-level marketing.

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  12. I must admit the picture of the breastmilk ice cream, bonjela, calpol & bottle confused (and annoyed) me at first, but I think I get it now. And I'm going to stick my neck out and say I think it's actually quite clever. I think their aim was to present something both attractive and repulsive at the same time - take the presentation of the ice cream together with the calpol, bonjela and bottle. And pick the one which you find most repulsive... an informed person might choose the bottle (whose manufacturer regularly flouts the WHO code), or calpol (which is banned in some European countries http://www.analyticalarmadillo.co.uk/search/label/Calpol ) or perhaps the bonjela (some forms of which are unsuitable for children under 16 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6150406.ece ). But of course it's the least offensive item on the picture that causes the outcry - the breastmilk, which is promptly seized (by the way, Westminster Council, that was the wrong answer). "Breast is best", yet paradoxically "unfit for human consumption." Point proven.

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  13. I add: the type of bonjela in the photo is the one that's unsuitable for under 16s...

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  14. Hmmm GOOD food for thought Anne-Marie! If indeed the marketing concept was that clever (and dare I say almost too clever? lol) I don't get why on earth Icecreamists haven't replied to anything anywhere saying so for those of us too dim to get their techniques? Why block and censor me? Perhaps I just caught them on a bad day...

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  15. Lol! I've been wondering that too! Maybe you were in danger of hitting the nail on the head and spoiling it for everyone else?! Perhaps it was unintended genius? Perhaps I should put them out of their misery? lol ;)

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  16. Hehe... done it:
    http://thefunnyshapedwoman.blogspot.com/2011/03/icecreamist-extremist.html
    Thanks for the inspiration! xx

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  17. Great theory - I wish actually it were true. I'm not at all sure it is because a) why not mention that at some point otherwise what is the point to it b) it would go over the head of 99% of buyers who see those items as just standard baby items...
    Interesting ponder though!

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  18. Hahaha - you were right! Icecreamists have read it. Their feedback? "Interesting and thought-provoking blog". Glad of the accidental genius though. ;)

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  19. ROFL!!! Ah that has really tickled me, I would have SO run with the "ah yes that was the inner genius!"

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  20. May I add a comment about the food hygiene aspect of the whole farago? a lot has been made of the fact that breast milk is suitable for newborn babies and the milk was tested in a private clinic, therefore any complaints about the sale of breast milk could only be about people thinking breast milk is yucky. In fact once a food stuff is for sale the relationship between producer and consumer is totally different. If I was served a roast dinner in a restaurant with a kitchen in the state mine is some Sundays I would be (rightly) pretty concerned. There are legal requirements and other mandatory requirements to be fulfilled. If it is something novel then the producer should be talking to the environmental health officers to ensure they are doing things in the most appropriate way, this is well known in the food industry. It isn't just about the condition of the milk as it leaves the breast, but how it is collected, transported, transferred from container to container, stored, processed, and served. It all has to be documented to prove that the producers have thought through the process and identified the safest methods at each point. Maybe the food was seized because the evidence wasn't there that the icecream had been produced safely.

    I am very suspicious about the whole thing, and personally suspect that the whole point all along was to get the food seized or other kurffle, which could then be blamed on people having a bad attitude to breast milk, and I would even go as far as saying that it smacks of exploiting people's confused attitudes to breast feeding, and therefore exploiting women.

    Sorry, this might be disjointed as I am also dealing with my 23 month old proudly using the potty twice!

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  21. *kurfuffle

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