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.