UN sees 'massive potential' for camels' milk

Camelburt cheese, anyone? If the United Nations has its way, such a cheese, made from camels' milk, could be a lot less unusual than it sounds.

A spokesperson for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said "the potential is massive." The FAO is urging camel-milk producers in the developing world to sell more camels' milk to the West.

Camels' milk has about 10 times the iron of regular cows' milk, three times more vitamin C and is rich in vitamin B. Antibodies in camels' milk may help fight diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer and hepatitis C.

The milk has a slightly salty taste and is popular in many Middle Eastern and African Arab countries. It is ideally suited to making cheeses like 'camelburt,' or as it is officially known, caravane.

Upmarket European retailers like the UK's Harrods and France's Fauchon have expressed interest in stocking camels' milk cheeses, even though current European Union law forbids these imports.

Product launches into other international markets include camels' milk ice cream made in Austria for the Middle East market and backed by the United Arab Emirates' royal family.

"Camels' milk could be a useful addition to the diet as it contains calcium and B vitamins and is lower in saturated fat than cows' milk," said a spokeswoman for the British Nutrition Foundation. "However, it is more expensive and does have quite an acquired taste."

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