x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A fresh look at camel milk in Dubai

Hundreds of litres every day is discarded, often long before it is spoilt, because it is classified under the same system as cow's milk.

DUBAI // Considering how long camels can go without water, it sort of makes sense that their milk stays fresh longer than other animals. Up to two weeks, in fact. Still, 20 per cent of the camel milk produced at UAE dairies - amounting to hundreds of litres every day - is discarded, often long before it is spoilt, because it is classified under the same system as cow's milk. That means shops are forced to dump it within three days of bottling.

Yesterday, food regulation authorities announced they were taking another look at the issue. "A structured study on the shelf life of camel milk is being undertaken," Bashir Hassan Yousif, Dubai Municipality's acting head of food studies and planning, told the Dubai International Food Safety Conference. The study, he said, would be undertaken by the Dubai Central Laboratory, in conjunction with camel dairies. He said the dairies could help extend the official shelf life of the milk, which is pasteurised, by demonstrating the soundness of their manufacturing processes.

"I am sure our higher authorities will be keen to have a specific and separate standard," for camel milk, Mr Yousif said. "It is in our interest to promote such a product that represents the country and the region as a whole." CPM Tulsiram, a processing manager at the Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products, which has more than 2,000 camels producing more than 1,500 litres of milk each day, said his firm was eager to see the shelf life extended.

"If we can keep this milk longer, more people will be encouraged to try new products," said Mr Tulsiram, whose company is developing camel products such as camel cheese, yogurt and smoothies.
pmenon@thenational.ae