Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg have thrown their money behind a start-up artificially producing breastmilk, which claims to be a better environmental alternative to formula.
The ‘cultured’ breastmilk project has attracted $5 million dollars in funding from an investment fund co-founded by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg in the hopes it will help reduce the carbon footprint of baby formula.
A better option for the planet
US-based company BIOMILQ, owned by cell biologist Leila Strickland and food scientist Michelle Egger, says the way it makes the cultured breastmilk is a more environmentally-friendly than formula. It would mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from livestock which are used to produce formula.
A better choice for parents
The scientists have pioneered a technique to make breastmilk, by culturing mammary cells outside the body and believe it’s nutritionally equivalent to breastmilk.
Leila and Michelle say they’re not trying to replace breastfeeding with their human milk product, but rather help mums who find it difficult, for whatever reason. They say exclusive breastfeeding is unrealistic for some mums and impossible for many and that their cultured breastmilk would simply be another choice.
The BIOMILQ team says it’s not sure when the cultured breastmilk will be available, as they’re currently fine-tuning production, but their goal is to bring it to the market as soon as the product meets rigorous quality standards.
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