Placenta smoothie business investigated by Swindon council

Authorities say 'afterbirth cocktails' could present a number of 'potentially serious health risks'

Placenta Smoothie
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A woman who makes smoothies from human placenta is being investigated by public health officials in Wiltshire.

Kathryn Beale from Swindon makes the "afterbirth cocktails" for new mothers who provide her with their own placentas, and insists her products are safe and healthy.

Officials from Swindon council said the raw human organ could be hazardous if not prepared correctly. She has voluntarily stopped her services until an inspection is carried out.

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"Whilst the health benefits of this activity are not clear, the processes involved in the production of human placenta for human consumption present a number of potentially serious health risks," a council spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph.

Beale makes her smoothies by blending together an 8cm-long piece of placenta with some sliced banana, a punnet of organic berries and 150ml of water, The Guardian reports. The rest of the placenta can be dehydrated and put into capsules, which can be swallowed later.

"I understand that they have to make sure that all food businesses are running safely," she said. However, she says the council has been "a bit overzealous" in trying to shut her down before doing a full inspection.

Beale says she follows strict hygiene procedures, chilling the placenta and sterilising the equipment she uses. "I believe that I do it safely," she said.

Placenta-eating is a modern trend which has been endorsed by numerous celebrity including Alicia Silverstone and Gwyneth Paltrow. Its advocates argue that it has numerous health benefits, including warding off post-natal depression, improving energy levels and aiding recovery from childbirth.

"The health benefits are great. After giving birth, most mums are anaemic to some extent, and placenta is full of iron, so it helps with that," says Beale.

However, the majority of the evidence is anecdotal and no major studies have been conducted on the benefits of eating human afterbirth. "Though it is a rich source of protein, it is designed to feed the baby, not the mother," says Dr Rohan Lewis.

The Guardian's Nick Baines ate his wife's placenta mixed in a smoothie and cooked in a taco. Describing the taste he says: "Up front was the distinct flavour of banana, superseded by a metallic, bloody backnote. It had a mineral earthiness to it and tasted exactly like the delivery room had smelled."

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