Food Safety Talk 138: Ominous noises

This special pre-halloween episode features ominous noises, and we are not talking about the pinging noise from Don’s email in the background.  The show opens with discussion not of noise, but of the sights and smells of fresh compost around Ben’s office.  After a brief digression into favorite TV, podcasts and fan feedback, the talk turns to recent food safety publications on cutting board safety and water bottle sanitation, followed by best Reduced Oxygen Packaging Handling practices from listener feedback. Next Ben gets real time inspiration and the guys do some back of the envelope risk assessment on home preparation of black garlic before a discussion raw camel milk and the risks of fake cures.  The show ends with a discussion of turkey eggs and Canadian Thanksgiving.

Episode 138 can be found here and on iTunes.

Here are show notes so you can follow along at home:

Brucellosis linked to unpasteurized camel milk in Israel

Two patients have been hospitalized at Meir Medical and another patient at Schneider Hospital in Petach Tikvah, suffering from brucellosis linked to the consumption of unpasteurized camel milk produced by the dairy company “Genesis.”

camel.milkLast week, two children were hospitalized for mild to moderate condition at Ichilov Hospital, following a drinking camel’s milk marketed by the company. Following the admission office ordered destroyed four tons of camel milk.

Amir Shreibman (64) and his wife, Kfar Sava have suffered in recent weeks from a high fever. “Four months ago we started to drink camel’s milk of Genesis, after we were convinced that it had medicinal properties,” he said. “They told us that many people drink this milk, and everything was fine. We did not think anything would happen to us, even if unpasteurized milk.”

Dubai’s Camelicious hopes to export its camel milk to U.S. market

Officially called Emirates Industry for Camel Milk & Products (EICMP) — but far better known by its playful brand name, Camelicious — the farm represents one of Dubai’s very few attempts at actually producing something: healthy, natural camel milk.

camel.milkAbout 250 people work at EICMP, on a huge tract of land covering 25 to 30 square kilometers.

“Dates and camel milk are part of the staple diet of Bedouins. This is what people here used to live from,” said company communications director Kirsten Lange, interviewed during our recent visit to EICMP. “Quite a few locals have camels. They drink the raw milk from their own camels, even though they might live in the city.”

At the moment, about 3,600 camels make up this operation, Lange said. The idea is to have 10,000 animals within the next two or three years.

So how do the workers keep track of all these dromedaries?

“The camels have numbers, but of course our vets know the old ones,” Lange said as she guided us around the farm. “Once in awhile, we give them names. Once we had a camel with lots of hair; we called her Tina Turner. They have GPS trackers on their collars, and we have a very extensive database. On every camel we have a huge database, and they get regular blood and urine tests.”

The point is to get these camels to produce as much milk as possible. The average camel gives seven liters a day, though not all camels are producing at all times. Daily production averages 5,000 to 6,000 liters, she said.

Last February, the company got permission from U.K. authorities to export its camel milk to the British market. The Camelicious brand is now available in selected ethnic stores in London, Brighton, Manchester and Bradford. Milk powder has also been shipped to potential partners in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. …

However, getting the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could be a long way off, especially considering that it’s still strictly illegal to import or sell camel milk in the United States.

As good as its camel milk may be, Camelicious won’t be doing business with one Middle Eastern country anytime soon: Israel. Besides the fact that the UAE and Israel don’t have diplomatic or trade relations, camel milk isn’t kosher — as any rabbi can attest — and is therefore prohibited under Jewish law.

Australian reporter drank camel milk for a month, here’s what happened

PJ Madam writes: This is a story about camels, their milk, and my bowel moments.

What could possibly be more interesting and attractive?

camel.milkAs a reporter on Sunday Night, I’m encouraged to get involved in the story as much as possible.

In the case of camel milk – all I had to do was drink some, right? Well, drink and document the effects, which has been a little tricky.

See, I’m one of those people who repeatedly test negative to allergies and intolerances.

According to multiple tests, I should be able to digest the main culprits: wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts.

Yet I’m embarrassed to say, my stomach tells me otherwise.

For the past 10 years, I’ve had a sensitive and weak constitution. I get cramps, sharp pain, bloating followed by the bathroom dramas.

It’s humiliating and frustrating.

Sometimes there’s a pattern. Most times, there’s not.

My doctor strongly believes I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ve been asked to have a colonoscopy and urged to try a food elimination diet but make every excuse under the sun to dodge both.

I like so many Australians, just watch what I eat, and put up with the symptoms.

So never in my wildest dreams did I imagine turning to camel milk to help the symptoms.

To me, the whole concept was plain weird.

Who wants to drink milk that comes from a camel?

They spit, they kick, they smell, they grunt and a whiff of their bad breath is enough to make you pass out.

I figured there was no point to investigating the health benefits of camel milk if I wasn’t drinking it myself.

For the past two months I traveled through the Middle East and outback Australia, investigating if the benefits of camel’s milk were fad or fact.

I spoke to many families who drink it to treat their child’s autism or asthma.

One man I spoke to suffers from Common Variable Immune Deficiency and swears by it being a staple in his diet.

The list doesn’t end there. The science behind the milk – known as ‘white gold’ – shows it can also help treat diabetes, cholesterol, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis and leaky gut.

camel.milk 2Nearly everyone I met told me it has helped.

It sounded too good to be true. Annoyingly, some were even calling it a ‘super food’.

I was comfortably skeptical.

And that’s when I was given a challenge.

Tucked away among the hills in Perth is Australia’s only camel dairy farmer.

At 70, Chris O’Hora is hilariously inappropriate, very generous but incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about camel milk.

Chris O’Hora sells his camel milk raw, unpasteurized, which scientists say is better for you.

Under Australian law, selling raw milk also happens to be illegal. Chris covers his milk bottles with stickers saying “not fit for human consumption” so it’s my choice whether to drink it or not.

I chose yes. I’d been to Chris’ farm; saw the camels, where they lived, the milking process and hygiene standards so I felt very confident about drinking his milk.

That farm was cleaner than my kitchen.

Also, camels unlike cows naturally carry lower levels of dangerous bacteria that force us to pasteurize bovine milk. Despite this, Chris insists testing his milk every single day. I saw this and was more than confident about what I was about to do.

Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world but that doesn’t mean they line up and stand still to be milked.

Catching them in the wild is difficult and expensive. Once you have one, they yield around four times less than a cow.

It also costs $25 a litre.

Know your camel: Turkish men hospitalized after drinking camel’s milk, urine

Two Turkish men were hospitalized on arrival to Turkey after drinking camel’s milk and urine while on an umrah visit, Hurriyet Daily News reported. 

The men believed the camel’s milk and urine to be good for health, claiming it was written in a hadith. An imam, according to the Turkish men, also drank the gonza.camelmilk and urine with them. 

The visitors were hospitalized due to high fever and unusual levels of liver enzymes. Further tests revealed that the two men had been infected with the “alkhurma” virus, reportedly catching the virus from the milk.  

The alkhurma virus is very dangerous and highly contagious and has a fatality rate of 25 to 35 percent, daily Hürriyet reported

İhsan Özkes, a retired religious cleric and current member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), denied the existence of any hadith that would encourage people to drink camel’s milk and urine.

“Those who did drink it must have been ignorant,” he said.

The Amazing Race: Who’s ready to work up a thirst?

On the Amazing Race tonight, the teams traveled to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where their challenge was to milk a camel and then drink a bowl full of raw camel milk. I was anxious to see if any of the teams would reject the challenge, as it can be a health risk. Yet, the only risks they were worried about were getting stepped on, the flies, the bugs, and the smell related to the warm milk. One of the contestants simply flipped out.

The first to finish, TK, said he had some trouble getting the milk down, “It was a little grainy. A little sweet and a little warm.”