The J-Man Chronicles: Doodie-DoorDash. Freshly Frozen Feces, from Farm to Table.

By Josh Bloom — Jun 03, 2024
Here's something you won't find on Amazon. Nor is it at the duty-free shops in airports: packaged frozen feces for consumption. Believe it or not, a company called Human Microbes has been buying, packaging, freezing, and reselling the stuff online for people with various gastrointestinal problems. This has the FDA up the company's a$$, which could be #### out of luck before long. Warning: Possibly tasteless!
Credit: Wikipedia

Disclaimer: Some most all of you may probably will will find some most all of this article potentially vulgar. Don't blame me. Yuks matter. 

When someone tipped me off about a new article called "The Poop Broker" I thought it was just a gag.

Then I read it; this resulted in a slightly different type of gag. It was real – a new article in Slate, written by Luke Winkie. I'm kidding about this either. Mr. Winkie (and if he didn't get the #### beat out of him in the schoolyard then I'll eat my own ####) has appeared in some pretty serious publications. Here's his byline:

Luke Winkie is a Slate staff writer and former pizza-maker from San Diego. In addition to Slate, he’s contributed to the Atlantic, the New York Times, Vox, and Rolling Stone.

He gets right down to business: <-----  get it?

In late 2023, Alexandra, a 66-year-old retired woman in D.C., was defrosting a piece of human feces that she purchased over the internet.

On the off chance that I ever get a dinner invitation from Alexandra – admittedly unlikely – please remind me to decline politely. Otherwise, it might go down like this:

Alexandra:  "Make yourself comfortable. I'm just going to thaw something out."

Josh: "I'll be right back."

The J-Man doesn't like the sound of "thaw something out" and beats a hasty retreat. 

Desperate measures

To be fair, Alexandra suffers from some pretty nasty gastrointestinal issues, and nothing that "traditional medicine" had to offer helped her. Under the category "What do I have to lose?" she tried this:

Her goal was to reduce the stool into a sloshy, biologically rich mixture, which could then be easily transferred past her rectum and into her colon. Human Microbes, the mysterious and legally questionable website that Alexandra purchased the poop from, recommended a turkey baster for the job

Luke Winkie, Slate

...which triggered a slight adjustment in my choice of entree for next Thanksgiving.

Fecal transplants are hardly new

Fecal transplants have been used since the 4th century when Ge Hong, a Chinese researcher used "yellow soup" to treat patients with severe diarrhea. (I'm not discussing the topic of fecal implantation. Medical literature is awash with research articles.) If you're a sicko interested anyhow, an article in BMJ (<-----note the BM part) will get you going. <------ Hah! Another one.

Fast forward 1700 years and fecal transplants are still used – for people who are plagued by with Clostridioides difficile aka C. diff., a nasty bacterial infection that is very difficult to eradicate because the bacteria are resistant to all common antibiotics. The difficulty in treating C. diff. was behind <---- (another stupid pun) the FDA's 2023 decision to approve Vowst "for the prevention of recurrence of Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infection."

However Alexandra did not have a C. diff infection, so her doctor was not allowed to prescribe Vowst. So, she decided to purchase a feces-related product on the brown black market. Enter Michael Harrop, the owner of a company called Human Microbes, which he describes as the "Dallas Buyers Club of human waste." Harrop has no medical training whatsoever, but this doesn't stop him from buying and then reselling dookies. Harrop may have no medical training but this does not mean that he has no scruples. He won't purchase (1) just any plop. Human Microbes has standards, such as they are:

“The ultimate stool donor is probably something like a 2–18 year old Michael Jordan” website

Too bad I didn't have the foresight to purchase Jordan's poopy diapers when he was 2. 

From the Human Microbes website.

Get ready to hurl

As bad as the visual of Alexandra's turkey baster full of you-know-what being inserted you-know-where sounds (2) Vowst is, at least image-wise, worse. The rectal transfer route sounds disgusting enough but one could rationalize that at least it's going up there, where it will meet similar acquaintances already in residence. Sort of like having a roommate. But the Vowst package insert conjures up far worse images. [my emphasis]

The dosage of VOWST is 4 capsules taken orally once daily for 3 consecutive days. Take each dose (4 capsules) on an empty stomach prior to the first meal of the day

Not your typical appetizer. Source: FDA

I don't know about the rest of you but I find the concept of swallowing doodie pills first thing in the morning to be mildly off-putting. Regarding the empty stomach requirement, that shouldn't be a problem because my stomach will be quite empty, either before or after swallowing the capsules. And who wouldn't be in the mood for a nice hearty breakfast afterward? Though, perhaps you should avoid sausages. 

The genius of ChatGPT 4.0: "Draw me a sausage" resulted in the image on the left. "Make it look a little like a turd." (Right) How did I ever exist without this??

Sorry, it's been a whole load <----- (heh heh) of fun but now it's time to mop up. I've done my duty and if you're not thoroughly grossed out by now, then the J-Man gives up.

Bon ap·​pé·​tit!


(1) You better act fast. The FDA just issued a warning letter to Human Microbes, stating that the company is making medical claims about its product, which makes it (technically) a drug, and an unapproved "drug" at that. 

(2) Alexandra didn't really use the turkey baster method; I added that for color, although it is actually recommended. Instead, she used an empty enema bottle. But I'm still not eating turkey. 



Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Recent articles by this author:
ACSH relies on donors like you. If you enjoy our work, please contribute.

Make your tax-deductible gift today!



Popular articles