Is Camel's Milk the Next Superfood?

Don't worry. They keep these camels very relaxed -- to improve the quality of the milk, of course.
Don't worry. They keep these camels very relaxed -- to improve the quality of the milk, of course.
Still from AP video

Remember when your only milk options were regular or chocolate? Nowadays we've got fat-free, 2 percent, soy, almond, and . . . maybe in the not too far off future: camel. At least that's what companies in the United Arab Emirates are saying.

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Earlier this year, "Camelicious" became the first dairy producer in the Middle East to gain approval to export its products to the European Union. But the company, owned by the Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products, isn't planning on stopping there. It says it's set its sights on the U.S. market next.

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"We made a lot of efforts, and I'm confident this will open more doors to other markets," Mutasher Al Badry, Camelicious' deputy general manager, told The National. "Our next plan is to start with the U.S. market, to be registered at the Food and Drug Administration."

Camel milk? No way! But actually the FDA has allowed the commercial sale of camel milk in the states for the past four years. So, yes, you really could see the product on shelves in the future.

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization has recognized the milk for its nutritional benefits for quite some time -- as have the residents of plenty of places such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Africa, and India, where people drink and eat camel products regularly.

According to the FAO, camel's milk contains three times the amount of vitamin C and half the fat as cow's milk. Plus it doesn't contain lactose and, therefore, offers a new option for those with allergies. Companies in the United Arab Emirates use the milk in making everything from cheese to chocolate, and one café in Dubai even offers in their lattes.

"Okay," you're saying, "But how does it taste?" Some say it tastes similar to cow's milk, while others say it has a slightly more salty taste. One quite entertaining description said: "The taste is akin to walking through a burnt-out building, eating a smoked ham and cheese sandwich."

We're not sure what that means, but it doesn't sound like a good thing.

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