Skip to comments.Amish Farmers Are Milking Camels for Your Health
Posted on 05/31/2014 4:35:46 PM PDT by nickcarraway
It seems like every other week someone gets ill from raw milk. The most recent incident occurred last month in West Michigan, when a 31-year-old woman and a six-year-old girl from different counties fell ill after drinking raw milk from a farm called Green Pastures. The Centers for Disease Control have released updated information on the link between raw milk and outbreaks of E. Coli infections, warning that a record number of such outbreaks were reported between 2010 and 2012.
We have a fraught relationship with raw milk in the US, but elsewhere the routine consumption of raw milk is far more normalized. Raw milk vending machines, for example, have recently been installed all over Europe, allowing unpasteurized dairy fiends to get a fix on the regular. The Middle East is long accustomed to drinking raw milk, and were not talking about cows or goats here. There, the milk of the humble dromedarythe camelis so prized that camel owners often forego drinking the milk themselves, saving it for special occasions or when guests drop by. The Bedouins believe it to have curative powers, and anecdotal evidence seems to support such assertions: some parents of autistic children claim the milk improves sociability and mood in their kids.
Walid Abdul-Wahab believes that raw camel milk packs a double-whammy of good health. The Saudi Arabian native is the founder of Desert Farms, a California-based company that sources raw camel milk from a network of Amish farms in the Midwest (the Amish have a history with raw milkin 2011, a Pennsylvania farm was raided and its owner accused of smuggling the dairy into Washington, D.C., where its sale was illegal). We caught up with Abdul-Wahab to find out about whats going on his product.
Camel-milk Desert Farms camel milk. Photo courtesy of Desert Farms. MUNCHIES: So, why camel milk? Why did you decide to start selling it in the US? Walid Abdul-Wahab: I grew up in Saudi Arabia, where camel milk was ingrained in our culture. In the Middle East its used to honor your guests. Then I realized, by reading religious texts, that people felt that it could actually benefit the ill, people with diabetes, with autism. They didnt mention these diseases by name, but they described their symptoms and all these prophets were recommending camels milk. I wanted to try to bring something positive from my home country to the US, when theres often a barrier of communication between the two countries, and a lot of misconceptions about the Middle East. I also wanted to sell camel milk because of its health benefitsits been helping a lot of children with autism.
Yeah, Ive read about that. How does it help? There is no scientific research behind this yet so we dont make any of those kinds of claims. But I can tell you what Ive heard from people who have tried it. The anti-inflammatory properties are the major factor that helps improve brain function. Anything you consume thats anti-inflammatory reduces the amount of toxins in found in your gut, and reducing those toxins has a clear effect on the brain. It improves function. Thats why all these autistic children are on very strict diets, particularly gluten-free. Any food that has gluten in creates inflammation, and thats exactly what you want to avoid.
What does the milk taste like? Camels seem like pretty funky animals. The milk tastes sweeter than cows milk, sometimes quite earthy. It isnt repulsive at all. Its a very clean taste, closer to cows milk than any other.
Where are these camels that youre getting the milk from? All our farms are run by the Amish community, in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania. The camels on these farms actually come from Australia. Camels run wild over theretheyre an invasive speciesso a couple of years ago these Amish farmers imported them by the thousands.
Why does the Amish community have a monopoly over these camel farms? The Amish knew about camels milk a while before anyone else did. The first farmer in the US to milk a camel, that I know of, was one of our farmers in Missouri. He told the Amish community that it could be a really good source of income, and, if it doesnt work out, then well have camels for camel rides at Christmas for the living Nativity scenes. It was a win-win situation for them.
So why do you offer raw camels milk in addition to pasteurized? Are you concerned about reports linking serious illnesses to the consumption of raw milk? I believe that raw milk is more nutritious. It all depends on how much you trust the source of the milkif I were in the middle of the desert and someone offered me camels milk and I didnt know where it came from, Id rather have pasteurized. But if I trusted the source of the milk and knew exactly where it was coming from, knew how healthy the animal was, and what it was eating, then Ill drink the raw milk right away. People seem to tolerate the raw milk a lot better than the pasteurized. It makes sense that if youre heating up milk to the point where youre killing bacteria, youre also killing beneficial bacteria. The way most dairy processors are heating their milk is at a ridiculously high temperature. They heat it at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three seconds. But you can heat the milk slowly at a moderate temperature, as we do, which keeps the flavor and the nutrition inside. The way we look at it is that these reports state illnesses in their hundreds within a year, which I see as insignificant when you compare it to something like smoking. It really depends on the treatment of the farm. A lot of these breakouts are because these farms are not inspected. If the government had a system in place for inspecting raw milk farms in the way it does pasteurized milk farms, I dont think wed have the same problem.
Given the restrictions that some states have on the sale of raw milk, how does that work for you? We are not allowed to sell in every state, but what we do offer is a herd share. You basically buy into being a member of the farm, so youre a part-owner of the camels. If you own the livestock then you can drink it wherever you are. Thats a very common practice in the raw dairy industry. But most of our customers live in states that allow raw milk. California is our biggest state. There, raw milk is legal and we sell in nine locations of the store Lassenes Market. Right now were also finalizing a deal with Whole Foodstheyre going to be carrying our pasteurized camel milk at 40 of their stores in northern California.
Whats the deal with the colostrum I saw on your website? It sounds intense. Colostrum is basically the first milk that comes out of the female camel when her baby is born. Its extra-nutritious, helping to get the new baby healthy and strong as fast as possible. Colostrum has been known for hundreds of years, regardless of the mammal. Its the ultimate superfood. For us its very popularwhenever we get a baby calf we always notify our customers, and within a couple of hours it sells out. Its our fastest-selling item, and is also very rarewe only get, like, four or five bottles at a time, and thats reflected in the pricehalf a bottle costs $40. Its just milk, so it tastes basically the same as the milk that the mother produces latera little thicker and more sourbut its much darker in color, like a dark yellow.
Wow. Thanks for talking to me, Walid.
I wonder why some people want to believe in magical qualities of food—in this case, of food that can make one extremely ill. This mystical belief in food magic absolutely dumbfounds me.
“How do you want your coffee?”
“Camels milk and sugar please.”
“One hump or two?”
Those Amish are always behind everything.
Coming soon to reality TV........Arabs Vs. the Amish..........
Lets get ready to RUMBLLLLLLLLLLL>>>>>>>>
I thought MERS is being linked to Camel’s Milk and drinking camel urine..not that the camels in the US came from the Mideast (one would hope, anyway).
Magic no, divine provision possibly. That’s fine — the trouble arises when that particular provision gets touted as a cure-all. That’s when the magic is ascribed (wrongly).
I have NEVER had a negative reaction to raw fresh cow’s milk. I HAVE, however, experienced all kinds of benefits and good things, from improved digestion to improvements in skin and hair. Raw milk is safe to drink.
I am not sure if MERS virus has been found in camel milk or urine, although some research has showed that the virus survives very well in camel milk.
However, there are many pathogens that thrive in milk of any species, and an animal that is sick—even without symptoms—can shed quite a lot of viruses and/or bacteria into the milk. No amount of sanitizing the udder will prevent microorganisms from entering the milk prior to milking.
Is this part of the knockout game? My decoder ring is busted.
I’m not speaking of what Muslims believe about camel milk, although what I said applies to that. I have observed many people ascribing magical properties to various foods—most often, foods that are out of the mainstream and which are sometimes dangerous to consume. For example, there is a belief that raw milk will cure autism or allergies—the list of conditions that raw milk magically cures seems to be endless—which is completely unsupported by any scientific observation.
Interesting headline. Am I hearing “Dog Whistles”?
Has the NAACP heard about this?
What isn’t mentioned it that MERS (I think that’s what it’s called) is caused by camel urine which is another big seller in the middle east. So are the Amish also selling camel piss? Having said that, my sons only had breast milk or raw goats milk their first two years. I have no idea whether it made any difference. Neither in their 30s have any cavities. Both have allergies but pretty good immune systems.
“Raw milk is safe to drink—except when it’s not.”—Captain Obvious.
“I wonder why some people want to believe in magical qualities of foodin this case, of food that can make one extremely ill. This mystical belief in food magic absolutely dumbfounds me.”
Mom, contrary to your ‘credentials’ you know nothing about raw milk. I know raw bovine milk, and it does not cause disease. There is a lot more disease caused by pasturized milk than by raw milk. And a lot of what is ‘credited’ to raw milk, maybe all of it, is from other food sources.
As for camel milk, I personally do not want it pasturized or ray. Dairy, as in bovine...Raw (Real) milk is good. And it is also healthy.
“Does your cottage cheese taste different lately?”
In another thread just above this one is an article about Saudi’s kissing their camels and possible getting/spreading the dread disease, MERs. What is this, the bacterial form of jihad?
I'm sorry, but the fact that you personally have not become ill from drinking raw milk only means that you have been lucky, not that raw milk is safe.
The only reason that pasteurized milk causes more disease is because 99% of people drink it pasteurized. When corrected for consumption numbers, then raw milk causes about 150 times more illnesses than pasteurized, on a per capita basis.
I really don't care if you want to drink raw milk, as long as you are fully aware of the risk. My objection to the practice only arises when people base their decision to drink it on lies, especially lies compounded with beliefs in non-existent magical properties.
Might be worth reading to find out!
I’ve bought raw milk from neighbors on dairy farms in the past, and that milk was safe enough. They vaccinated the cows for bangs, and sanitation was very well done on those farms (nipples sanitized, immediate refrigeration, etc.). The amount of risk depends on the hygeine practices on the farm and in your own home.
I never drank any camel’s milk, though.
Interesting video with Andrew Zimmern sampling camel milk. http://www.travelchannel.com/video/visit-oasis-camel-dairy
I never drank any camels milk, though.
It’s surprisingly pleasant and, like goats milk, good for people with lactose intolerance. Not terribly good in coffee though.
We only had raw milk when I were a kid - one of my chores was to go to the neighbor’s farm and pick up a gallon for our family and a quart for the elderly woman who lived half a mile away. Biggest treat you could get was a glass full straight from the teat and still warm and frothing. Totally wonderful in the winter!
You may know it as Bud Lite.
I hate to say it, but the description of that book looks like it is fairly typical anti-science. Books like that usually refer to a lot of scientific studies, but do not tell what the studies actually showed. Instead, they cherry-pick isolated sentences and present them out of context, often to imply that the study showed the opposite of what it really showed. Or they will pick a single study that, for whatever reason, found something that cannot be corroborated or repeated in other studies, but that aberrant study supports whatever the author is trying to claim.
I read the primary scientific literature, and have no desire to read a book that misuses and misrepresents what the actual science says.
if the govt is so concerned about people getting sick then why do they promote filthy sex practices?
The fact that pasturization has been such a success at eliminating milk as a source of illness like TB , the original impetus for the process lets people forget how beneficial it was.
2 people... TWO PEOPLE...
And it’s not the milk making them sick. It’s the feces stuck to the teets.
Let people decide if they want to take the risk and leave the rest of us alone.
The same is true with vaccines. These health interventions are so successful that people have no idea how deadly the diseases were prior to the implementation of these health measures. Then far too many people assume the health measures are completely unnecessary because those diseases never happen.
Raw milk carries the same risk as all raw food.
I don’t see the government banning lettuce or cantaloupe. Which has killed thousands over the years.
My family drinks raw milk from from our goats daily and none of us has ever gotten sick.
Could it happen? Sure it could. There is a risk with all raw foods.
Do you worry about the risks when you pick a tomato or some lettuce from your garden or buy it from the grocery store?
I do think raw milk has more health benefits. However, I drink it mostly because it tastes so much better.
I just don’t see the need to boil the crap out of my milk anymore than I feel the need to boil a tomato I pick out of my garden.
I doubt there’s much risk in drinking raw milk from your own goats. Probably more when you’re talking about a commercial operation. More goats, and more opportunity for the milk to go bad. Still, I’m not advocating the government ban it. There’s too much government interference in people’s lives already.
Probably more when youre talking about a commercial operation. More goats, and more opportunity for the milk to go bad.
I would agree with that. However, I think that is the case with all commercial operations involving food.
A lot of commercial dairies could care less about the filth and disgusting environment that they operate within, and they get away with it because they pasteurize their milk.
If most people ever visited a commercial dairy, they would never want to drink milk again.
However, I will admit that there is some scientific evidence that farm families that drink their own raw milk do develop immunity to the germs their animals carry. This is not necessarily true for people who dont live on a farm.
Although, there have been very few serious illnesses from raw milk over the last 10 years, almost all of them have been in adults and children who tried raw milk for the first time.
I do sterilize all my milking equipment and use sterilizing utter wash before milking., just to watch my kids go out and lay down and kiss on the goats.
If they ever got sick from E. coli, the milk would be the last thing I would consider as the source.
Dr. Art Ayers - Milk, Kefir and Gut Flora
Dr. Ayer’s profile of his scientific background.
“I grew up in San Diego and did my PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (U. Colo. Boulder). I subsequently held postdoctoral research positions at the Swedish Forest Products Research Laboratories, Stockholm, U. Missouri -Colombia and Kansas State U. I was an assistant professor in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department at Harvard University, and an associate professor and Director of the Genetic Engineering Program at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA. I joined the faculty at the College of Idaho in 1991 and in 1997-98 I spent a six-month sabbatical at the National University of Singapore. Most recently I have focused on the role of heparin in inflammation and disease.”
All that really shows is that even PhD trained scientists can enter the realm of “alternative science.” Sometimes, MDs start pushing “alternative medicine.” I’ve seen cases where scientists are complete kooks except within their area of specific subject matter expertise.
I notice that there is not a single medical literature reference in that whole blog. If he is presenting documented scientific observations, where are the references?
Like I said the first time, Mom, you know nothing about raw milk. Pasteurization turns what comes from the cow into something unfit for man or beast. Take the cow’s milk, pasteurize it, and then give it to her calf. the calf will die. Drink on Mom. But quit preaching nonsense.
The whole thing about bans on raw milk is to protect the big dairy farms and the big dairy industry from small farms that do it right in sanitary conditions. Big dairy farms are less than sanitary. And pasteurized or not, that milk is unfit for consumption.
The small diary farmers do it organically, non-GMO, and grazed on certified organic pastures. They do it without soy. Soy, unless it has been fermented, is poison...you probably don’t know that, Mom.
And as I said, Mom, you know nothing about raw milk, and probably nothing about the dairy industry in general.
But if you make that decision based on magical thinking and claims pulled out of thin air, then you need to inform yourself.
My credentials are that I am a PhD educated medical researcher. My current focus is public health. Daily, I read voluminous quantities of the primary scientific literature--where actual scientific studies are published, with methods described and results presented.
What are your credentials? More importantly, what are the credentials of those who claim that raw milk is safe and attribute all kinds of magical properties to it?
I've no idea where you got the notion that calves fed pasteurized milk will die--as this cattle industry report shows, calves do quite well with pasteurized milk. Also, keep in mind that bacteria (like E. coli O157H7) that are not harmful to cows can be deadly to humans.
FYI, there is no such thing as a "sanitary" farm. Growing up on a ranch in rural CA, I never saw one--and I don't see any in this rural area where I live now. Cows are animals; animals are not clean. That's just their nature.
Credentials? you want to match your PhD against some other PhD? And do you have a discipline? You say you ‘are a PhD educated medical researcher etc’. And your ‘current focus is public health’...Are you employed? Are you now at a paid researcher focusing on public health? And btw, are you really ‘exDem’ or just ‘exMom’? Are you really still a flaming liberal wanting the Gobment to control all aspects of our lives?
Gee, one fourth of the large cattle operations feed their calves pasteurized milk.
Care to comment and reconcile that with your statement that those calves would die?
Any credentials on that fact?
Give a new born calf pasteurized milk...never let it close to the teat...live or die?
Being concerned with matters of public health does not equate to "wanting to control all aspects of our lives." Did you miss the part where I said that I really don't care if you choose to drink raw milk, as long as you are fully aware of the risks?
If you are not fully aware of the risks, then why get so argumentative at me for pointing them out? Why not get mad at the raw milk sellers who lie about the risks in order to get people to buy their product?
If it were up to me, I would require all raw milk producers and sellers to pay for every epidemiological investigation that has to be conducted following raw milk illness outbreaks, and to cover hospitalization costs and long-term care costs for patients affected by drinking raw milk. Perhaps if they were held legally and financially liable for the damages they cause, they would be more truthful about their products.
The evidence says they continue to live.
“Perhaps if they were held legally and financially liable...”
Yes, while we are on that subject, perhaps if the FDA and the big drug companies were held financially and criminally liable for bad drugs that kill people. Especially after it is found that the drug companies and FDA hid the fact that they were bad. And it is not just prescription drugs. Tylenol, Acetaminophen, damages livers. Acetaminophen is one of the leading causes of livers damaged to the point of needing replacement via transplant. Normal recommended dosing can cause liver damage, and without any alcohol effects present. Why, Mom, is it still legal to market acetaminophen products? The drug companies making Tylenol and Acetaminophen and the FDA know this is so. CDC knows it and have posted warnings. Why aren’t these people in prison, the high officials in the FDA and the CEO’s etc of the companies making and marketing acetaminophen products?
But it seems you want to ignore that and go after the Amish farmer who has a few people who buy raw milk from him. Your priorities are out of line, Mom!
And btw, Mom, I know the ‘hazards’ of drinking real milk. The system want to crucify any of us who choose to do so. I also know that the real hazard of drinking milk of any kind is the calcium. Calcium is a killer...I would refer you to Dr. Thomas Levy’s book, “Death by Calcium”. (Dr. Thomas Levy, MD, JD, cardiologist)
And you are probably one of those who thing women need calcium and Fosamax to deal with osteoporosis...
Show me the evidence...I do not believe calves that get no colostrum continue to live as a general rule.
Since more than 25% of large cattle farms, whose very livelihood depends on a high survival rate of calves, isn’t good enough for you, I doubt anything would be proof enough.
If the FDA and "big drug companies" are trying to hide something about acetaminophen, they sure are doing a poor job about it. I've been reading articles about liver toxicity issues associated with high doses of acetaminophen since the 1970s. People are not paying enough attention to the warnings, which is why the FDA recently changed the rules about acetaminophen sales. Moreover, every drug sold must contain a fairly comprehensive disclosure statement warning patients not just of the possible side effects of that specific drug, but general side effects that can be seen with any number of drugs. Companies falsifying or concealing data face huge legal and financial repercussions. Furthermore, even though drug companies do not intentionally hide the risks associated with their products, they can be sued for damages.
There isn't even anything similar between the strict regulatory oversight of drug companies and the "freedom" of raw milk producers and advocates to openly lie about raw milk without ever being held responsible for the sicknesses, permanent disabilities, and deaths it causes. They absolutely should be held financially and legally liable for the damage they cause. Here are just 6 people permanently injured by raw milk; the combined medical expenses of 5 of them are over 2 million dollars (one of them did not list medical costs). Two of these cases are from CA, which now requires all raw milk to carry a warning label. (Ironically, if those selling raw milk were held financially and legally responsible for the damage they cause, they could point to those labels in court as evidence that they were not misleading consumers. But that only applies in CA.) Add up all of those medical costs, plus the expense of epidemiological investigations--it is unfair to make taxpayers pay for all of that when it is those selling raw milk under false pretenses who are directly responsible.
As I have said several times already, I am perfectly okay with you or anyone else choosing to drink raw milk as long as you are fully aware of the risks. My objection only comes up because of the lies and deceptions used to sell raw milk. Right now, an unscrupulous farmer who does not want to invest in pasteurization equipment and the associated quality-control testing is free to claim all kinds of magical properties of raw milk in order to sell his product--clearly, he is motivated by profit and nothing else. Hold him financially responsible, that is all I am saying.
P.S. I have no idea where you got that idea about calcium. Calcium is a necessary mineral, without which your body would shut down.
Where does all this pseudoscience come from, and why does a small minority of people lap that stuff up?