By Calvin Palmer
It sounds like something Hannibal Lecter would dream up, probably while sitting in his cell and thinking about FBI agent Clarice Starling — the use of human breast milk as an ingredient in recipes
But a Swiss chef plans to do just that in a variety of dishes at his restaurant in the village of Iberg near the resort of Winterthur, 15 miles northeast of Zurich.
Hans Locher, the owner of the Storchen restaurant, has posted advertisements in German newspapers for human milk donors and received some positive responses. The advertisements offered around $7 for every 14 ounces of milk provided by the donor.
“We have all been raised on it,” Locher said. “Why should we not include it in our diet?”
He said he began experimenting with breast milk when his daughter was born. “One can cook really delicious things with it,” he said. “However, it always needs to be mixed with a bit of whipped cream, in order to keep the consistency.”
The authorities do not share Locher’s enthusiasm. Zurich’s regulatory body, the Association of Swiss Milk Producers, has threatened lawsuits against Locher and any of the donors.
“I don’t understand all the controversy,” Locher said. “The mother’s milk is the most natural thing in the world, how can anyone be against it? It is, after all, the first thing we taste and I see no reason why I should not include it in my menu.”
So far in his experiments, he has produced breast milk soup, breast milk lamb curry and antelope steak with chanterelle sauce with breast milk and cognac.
“The idea first came to me when I noticed there were many young mothers in our village, some of them single,” he said. “I thought to myself, why not make use of their potential? I served the meals to my friends without telling them about the new ingredient and the feedback was excellent.”
An apparent loophole in legislation confused authorities at first and they were not sure whether they could in fact ban the use of breast milk.
Humans as producers of milk are not covered by the legislation, according to Rolf Etter of the Zurich food control laboratory.
“They are not on the list of approved species such as cows and sheep but they also are not on the list of banned species, such as apes and primates,” he said.
it was eventually ruled that Mr Locher would not be able to store the human milk properly nor guarantee that it was fresh and safe for consumption.