AMSTERDAM Two Dutch TV hosts cooked and ate each other's flesh, sampling fried buttock and fried belly, and pushing the boundaries of bad taste on Wednesday night in a program aired by Dutch broadcaster BNN.
A butcher advised presenters Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno on which were the best cuts of human flesh, and a surgeon removed the strips of muscle from Storm's left buttock cheek and Zeno's abdomen.
A chef fried the flesh, and served it to Storm and Zeno with green asparagus on the side.
Zeno described the experience as similar to eating a piece of car tyre, and took a while to swallow his food on air.
Storm cleaned his plate a bit faster, and jokingly likened his own "meat" to Kobe beef because he takes good care of his body and health.
"It's sick," said Anna Mees, 25, who watched the show.
Storm and Zeno said they got the idea after seeing the film "Alive" about how members of a rugby team ate human flesh to survive after their plane crashed in a remote spot.
"Since then I have always wondered what human flesh would taste like," Zeno told Reuters.
Both Zeno and Storm said they would not do it again because it would involve more surgery.
Cannibalism is legal in the Netherlands.
"Only when it involves maltreatment or when it violates common decency is cannibalism illegal," Gerard Spong, a Dutch lawyer who specialises in criminal law, told Reuters.
Some media, citing BNN, reported that the stunt, shown on science program "Guinea Pigs," was a hoax.
But BNN press officer Thijs Verheij told Reuters that BNN had never said it was a hoax and that the flesh-tasting really took place. Zeno showed Reuters a scar on his belly where his flesh was removed.
The Netherlands has become a breeding ground for new TV formats, and brought the reality show "Big Brother" to the world in 1999.
In 2007, BNN aired a "donor show" where an allegedly terminally ill woman would donate her kidney to one of three candidates with a kidney problem.
At the end of that show, the presenter announced that the woman was an actress and that the show was a hoax, and that the intention had been to shock people into the realisation that the country lacked enough donors.
(Editing By Sara Webb and Paul Casciato)