An udderly new camel business

Camel milk may be for sale in the EU sooner than expected

An udderly new camel business

Mosab Omar/Reuters

Camels are best known in the West as spitting, mean-tempered beasts, and not milk producers. But could camel milk and milk products soon appear on supermarket shelves in Europe and North America? A camel farm and processing plant near Dubai has increased production to 4,500 litres of milk a day, becoming the first of its kind in the world to produce on this scale. In order to properly pit camels against cows in the milk market battle, the Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products farm’s veterinarians adopted a selective breeding procedure using embryo transfers to improve milk production.

The UAE has tried for years to export camel milk drinks to the EU, so far with no success. But that could change soon: last year, EU officials said they would inspect quality standards and veterinary practices at camel farms this summer. Camel milk is higher in vitamin C and has lower fat content than cow’s milk, and has been used by researchers to treat chronic hepatitis. It’s also widely believed to be an aphrodisiac among Gulf Arabs.