How many of you knew that since 2001, the 1st of June each year is “World Milk Day”? I for one didn't until I was listening to the radio on the way home this evening.

Apparently the day is marked to “celebrate” all aspects of milk, including its natural origin, it's nutritional value, the numerous tasty products which are liked by many people across the globe, the economic importance of milk in rural regions as well as in the entire food chain. There you go.

Obviously now I know about it I can't let the day pass without marking it in some way. So here are some interesting (in the broadest sense of the word) facts about milk in the UAE:

  1. The largest herd of cows in the UAE (at a farm which I visited a few months ago) is more than 6000 strong, most of which are the eighth generation of the first herd of Freisans that were imported in 1981 when legend has it that Sheikh Zayed decided that the country needed to stop relying on milk from Saudi Arabia.
  2. The cows have to be milked in specially cooled milking halls, and when out in the open have access to sensor controlled showers so they can cool off at regular intervals (much like the showers they have when you run the marathon or other long races).
  3. When importing cows you can fit 182 heifers on a jumbo jet (who knows when that particular fact could come in handy).
  4. There is a growing market in camel milk, the farm in question currently has more than 800 females, which nowadays are automatically milked, although this hasn't been the case for many years.
  5. In the UAE the government sets the price for milk, which I think is currently 5 dirhams (80 pence) a litre.

I could go on but you probably wouldn't thank me.

One fact that I did hear today which initially surprised me, but when I think about it is probably logical, is that recent studies have shown that 78% of the UAE population is deficient in vitamin D. Given how much sun shine we get here that is something of a surprise, but actually for around half the year we spend our time trying to keep out of the sun as it is so hot, so that is the reason that so many people are deficient.

Apparently the problem is so acute that one company has today launched a “super milk” that includes a number of added vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin D.

So, there you have it, make sure you update your calendars so you don't miss World Milk Day next year.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

You can read more about the history of dairy food in the UAE here.

Thanks to for a number of the facts in this post.


1 Comment

  1. What you didn’t know is that our upstairs neighbour knows both the guy who runs the large cattle farm and the camel farm, how about that, a small world. They will have met when Andrew ran a Saidi farm for a while. Interesting facts in your notes!

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