Fancy a nice frosty glass of... camel milk?

Caroline Cassidy

Packed with vitamins and goodness and far more easy to digest than regular cow's milk, camel milk from the United Arab Emirates could soon be found on British supermarket shelves, and possibly in your morning cuppa.

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Scientists from Dubai's Centre for Veterinary Research Laboratory claim that camel's milk is very healthy and an excellent alternative to cow's milk.

Ulrich Wernery, the scientific director of Dubai's Centre for Veterinary Research Laboratory, said: "People with lactose intolerance can drink it with no problem, unlike cow's milk, it doesn't cause protein allergies, and it's high in insulin."

They even claim that camel's milk has a similar composition to human milk and is extremely rich in vitamin C. The nomadic Bedouins kept up their vitamin C levels by drinking plenty of camel milk since they had little to no fresh fruits and vegetables in the Arab desert.

Plans for screening the milk have been approved by the European Commission and a panel of inspectors will soon be sent to the two dairy farms producing camel milk in the UAE, Al Ain Dairy - which produces 'Camelait', and Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products - which produces Camelicious, a brand found in most UAE shops.

Mr Wernery, who is affiliate with Camelicious, hopes that camel milk will soon be sold in the US, Canada, China and Hong Kong and could be turned into other camel dairy products such as cheese, chocolate and ice cream.

However, the low production of camel milk could hinder these plans for now. Camelicious currently only produces 5,000 litres of milk a day, which is less than one per cent of Europe's daily milk consumption. And the low production means that camel milk is more expensive too. It is about 71p more expensive than cow's milk in the UAE.

Mr Wernery said: "Cows produce more milk than our camels - about 50 litres daily, while our camels make 10-15 litres.

"But they developed good dairy cows over many years. We are trying to breed good (camel) milking stock, but it will take some time."

Would you drink camel milk rather cow milk if it was available? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.