'It's a total lie': camel milk a step too far for celebrity chef Pete Evans

File image of celebrity chef Pete Evans Source: AAP

Pete Evans has slammed News Limited reports which claim he believes camel milk is a suitable alternative to human milk for babies.

The My Kitchen Rules star told SBS the accusations were a "total lie" and "no where have we ever said that breastfeeding mothers should use camel milk".

The report, which was shared across News Limited's online publications, referenced a Facebook post by the celebrity chef in late August.

In it, nutritionist Nora Gedgaudas offered a range of dietary guidelines about consuming dairy - including the benefits of raw milk and the similarities between camel milk and human milk.

"The author who wrote that piece (Gedgaudas) did say that camel's milk, more so than cows milk, is closer to human milk, but no where did it say that breastfeeding mothers should ditch breast milk for camels milk," Evans told SBS.

"We always promote that mothers should breastfeed as long as possible as that of course is the perfect food for babies."

Evans took to Facebook on Thursday to clarify his stance on breastfeeding by including some advice by nutritionist Helen Padarin, which said: "There is no doubt breast milk is the very best first food for your baby. It is liquid gold." 

"If breastfeeding is not possible, we encourage looking into breast milk banks where breast milk is supplied from other mothers to feed bubs who would not otherwise be able to have breast milk," the post added.

The incident comes off the back of another recent controversy where Evans offered medical advice to a woman with osteoporosis during a Facebook Q&A. 

He was subsequently panned by several medical experts, including Brisbane Doctor Brad Robinson, who told Evans in an open letter, "You are a chef, not a doctor."

Issues with camel milk

The Australian Medical Association's Dr Richard Kidd said newborn babies could face dehydration and infection if exposed to milk which is not produced by a human.

"I’m not aware of any studies that have shown safety or risk around camel milk for humans," he told SBS.

“We know that cow milk has to be modified in formulas so that it’s similar in its profile to human breast milk.

“I would suspect that camel milk is probably not very close to the profile of human breast milk and if that’s the case it could be dangerous.

"There is no doubt that the best food for human babies is human breast milk."

Dr Kidd said camel milk could potentially even be dangerous for adults, pointing to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS).

“One of the vectors for that (MERS) is camels and people are advised not to have any contact with camels, camel droppings, or any other secretions – which would obviously include milk," he said.

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