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Totally bizarre food combos and snacks have been satisfying people’s cravings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
But here’s an unusual one that could either have you salivating or feeling squeamish at the mere sight of it.
After giving birth to her son a few months ago, Australian radio personality Veronica Milsom decided to cook up her placenta and stuff it into a sausage roll, before feeding it to her former Triple J co-host Lewis Hobba.
The Zero Waste Baby podcast host organised a dinner party with Lewis and his obstetrician girlfriend, Alex and that’s where the “pla-sausage roll” was served.
“I decided raising a tiny human wasn’t hard enough, and that I should make the first three months even harder, by raising her without anything that goes into landfill,” she said on Triple J’s Hobba & Hing show.
“That means avoiding all disposable baby stuff to do my bit for the environment, so I can sleep at night… except of course I have a new born so I can’t actually sleep at night.”
She said she “contemplated making a Plasagne, or a placenta-pizza” but then thought why not “let it hide in the delicious pastry”.
The process of making the dish was an experience in itself.
“Cutting up my placenta was as horrible as you can imagine,” Veronica told Pedestrian TV.
“Every single slice that you made felt it was a part of yourself. Like, I felt like my insides would tense up as it happened.”
She said the placenta made a “disgusting sizzling noise” once it was on the frying pan, and its kangaroo-like scent was like “cooking up yourself and having it come back into your nose”.
As for her co-host’s reaction, well it was pretty much what you’d expect.
“Lewis basically swore from the moment I gave it to him. He couldn’t stop saying like ‘what the fuck happened to you growing up to make you like this?’”
Believe it or not, a lot of people eat their own placenta and Chrissy Teigen, Hilary Duff and Kim Kardashian are only a few famous examples.
Why Do People Eat Placentas, Anyway?
Placenta, a temporary organ that develops inside the uterus of someone who is pregnant, is expelled from the uterus in what’s usually referred to as an afterbirth. While the placenta provides nutrients and support to the fetus, there’s a lack of scientific evidence to support the perceived health benefits of a parent consuming it post-childbirth.
Despite this dearth of evidence, placentophagy — the act of eating placenta after childbirth — has become a somewhat growing trend with proponents arguing that many mammals consume their offspring’s placenta, and that the practice has been around for several millennia.
Some believe that placentophagy can improve mood, energy, milk production and iron stores in new mums, and can reduce pain and bleeding.
One of the most common ways mothers consume placenta is to have it dried and made into pills. It can be eaten raw, dehydrated into a jerky-like food, cooked, roasted and made into smoothies or elixirs.
“I think the reason this is a new ‘fad’ is celebrity couples are doing it. Kim Kardashian posted pictures of her taking her freeze-dried placenta capsules, and when celebrities promote these fads, they become gospel,” Dr Sarah Cook, a Toronto family physician, previously told HuffPost Canada.
There Have Been Previous Warnings Against It
A review of placentophagy showed there is no significant benefit, and it may actually cause harm, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) said in a committee opinion article published in the May 2019 issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. Therefore, they “do not recommend” it.
“Currently, there is no strong evidence to suggest that placental consumption is beneficial for human health,” Dr Jocelynn Cook, chief scientific officer of the SOGC, said in a news release at the time.
“The scientific research shows that there is both potential and documented harm associated with the consumption of human placenta.”
The harm includes the potential for contamination with harmful bacteria, viruses, or fungi due to improper handling and sterilisation of the placenta, the SOGC explained.
Australia has also warned new mums against human placenta ingestion. And in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US said that “placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided” after a baby was hospitalised with a bacterial infection traced back to the placenta pills his mother had been taking.
With additional reporting by Charmaine Noronha and Natalie Stechyson.