A Camel Dairy and Camel Milk Might be Coming Your Way Soon
Look for a camel milk dairy in your neighborhood soon.
Forever Safe Farms (www.ForeverSafeFarm.org) in Salem, Ohio, established by Rob and Karrin Campf, is a haven for rescued exotic animals. Here, Karrin nuzzles a few members of the haven’s camel herd.
Walking down the aisles in the supermarket, most people don’t look twice at the alternatives to cow’s milk: rice, almond, goat, soy. But in a few months, you also may be passing a carton of camel milk. And there just might be a camel dairy not far down the gravel road.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed a bill in 2009 permitting the commercial sale of camel milk in the United States; once the required test kits and systems are in place and dairies begin to meet the FDA dairy requirements, we could start seeing camel milk for sale in stores as early as July or August.
Camel milk is garnering attention as researchers find a number of health benefits in its proteins, including being a safe option for lactose-intolerant individuals, easing symptoms of autism, having high vitamin C levels, and aiding diabetics. (For more information visit www.CamelMilkUSA.com.) Studies by the Diabetes Care and Research Centre in India reported camel milk can supplement approximately 60 percent of insulin for diabetics. With obesity rates increasing and diabetes following close behind, consumers will be searching for new products.
Farmers are looking to “milk” the approaching market, so a burgeoning cottage industry has appeared. Since it will be the first time in U.S. history when camels will be in dairies, savvy farmers familiar with the health benefits of camel milk are educating themselves on the unique care required by this exotic and surprisingly gentle creature.
Most of the several thousand camels in the United States are in zoos and animal parks, so camels on a farm are a rarity.
Camels are associated with deserts, however, they’re extremely adaptable creatures, and some thrive in the cold of Russia. Camel owners are all over the United States; farms have started anywhere from Amish country to Arizona.
“Hay is for horses,” and is a sore subject when it comes to camel diets. Some owners are adamant about supplying hay; others believe a camel’s diet should be high in grains. In its native habitat, the herbivore will eat just about anything it can find, including shrubs, leaves, grasses and even thorn bushes.