The kafka producer supports the possibility to pass on a (custom) timestamp with the record. The camel-kafka component does not leverage this, currently. A Camel header seems like a good option to provide this. The consumer already creates a kafka.TIMESTAMP header (not yet documented). I suggest to use a different header to avoid misconfiguration in case of "kafka to kafka" scenarios. kafka.OVERRIDE_TIMESTAMP (being a one-time header) looks like a good idea, similar to the existing kafka.OVERRIDE_TOPIC.
What do you think?