A Hamburger Today

Would You Eat Human Cheese?

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Human-cow blend. [Photograph: itp.nyu.edu]

And by "human cheese" I mean cheese made of human milk. In case that could be misconstrued as anything else. (I don't want to know.)

Miriam Simun, a student of New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), began her human cheese project last October to explore issues of sustainability, health, ethics, food systems, and biotechnology. You can view photos of the cheese and surveys with the milk donors at itp.nyu.edu/livingsystems. In her project statement she poses these questions on serving human cheese:

As we navigate the complex landscape of technologically modified food production, how do we understand what is natural, healthy, ethical? If we reject all technologically modified food in favor of what is 'natural,' how far back to do we go? If we are to welcome new technologies into our lives, how will we continue to redefine what is natural, normal and healthy? How will this change our relationship to each other, the natural world and ourselves? If we are determined to continue to enjoy our cheese, perhaps it is most natural, ethical and healthy to eat human cheese? And if not, what other biotechnological processes does this force us to reconsider?

At the ITP Winter Show last December, Simun shared three kinds of cheeses made of human milk mixed with goat or cow's milk—you can read more about the ingredients' origins and flavors and sign up for future tastings at miriamsimun.com. And if you want to help out Simun, the project is ongoing; in a recent interview at Food+Tech Connect, Simun says, "I am currently looking for more New York City based women that are interested in working with me."

Would you eat human cheese? If you're a woman, would you be interested in turning your milk into cheese?

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