Camel's milk: Can it get over the hump and become the next big superfood?

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"Make every day a humpday," reads the logo on Desert Farms camel's milk bottles.

cam They're $18 a pint, and now available at 40 Whole Foods stores throughout California, with broader availability planned.

America's first retail camel milk company is based in Santa Monica, and last month sold its 100,000th dollar of the beverage, which is associated with a wide variety of claimed nutritional and health benefits.

Walid Abdulwahab, a 23-year-old student from Saudi Arabia, launched the company as part of a class project at the University of Southern California after a trip home to Saudi Arabia. Camel’s milk has long been a traditional drink in the Middle East among nomads and Bedouins, he told the LA Times.

“It tastes like someone left a pretzel in a glass of regular milk,” said a taste-tester quoted in MarketWatch.

The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) [via Reuters]


The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) [via Reuters]

The product has enjoyed growing popularity in the United States in spite of the link between camel farming and MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The respiratory illness has infected at least 850 people since it first emerged two years ago, and has killed at least 327 of the people infected. Most cases are in Saudi Arabia, where camel farming is widespread.

MERS appears to spread primarily through the air, but has been found in camel milk. Health experts don’t know whether infected milk can sicken people, but avoiding raw camel's milk may be wise. In Qatar, where the beverage is popular, the health ministry now recommends that people boil their milk before drinking it. Producers in the U.S. insist their milk is safe, raw pasteurized, or fermented into the probiotic beverage kefir.

Would you try it? Have you tried it?

Here are a bunch of gratuitous photos of the Desert Farms camels, from their "Farm Cam."

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