Milk Allergy? Simplify Your Shop

August 07, 2012

Find it difficult to shop with a food allergy? Here's your guide to shopping and dining with a milk allergy

Shopping for food allergies can be difficult, especially when hungry, in a rush, shopping for a friend, or just wanting to try something new. There are eight common allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, eggs, milk, fish and shellfish. Today’s article will focus on how to shop and dine with a milk allergy.

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), Approximately two and a half percent of children younger than 3 are allergic to milk (different than lactose intolerance). Almost all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life; but most children who have a milk allergy will outgrow it in the first few years of life.

What to look for when shopping? Those with milk allergy should avoid butter ( which includes butter fat, butter oil, butter acid, and butter ester). Buttermilk casein, casein hydrolysate caseinates (in all forms), all cheese, cream, curds, custard, diacetyl, ghee, half-and-half lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactoferrin, lactose, lactulose, milk (in all forms), milk protein hydrolysate, pudding, Recaldent®, rennet casein, sour cream (and solids), sour milk solids, tagatose, whey (in all forms), whey protein hydrolysate and yogurt should also be avoided.

Products with milk or milk derivatives will be labeled as such because all FDA-regulated manufactured food products that contain milk are required by US law to list the word “milk” on the product label.

Some hidden sources of milk include, deli meat slicers, which are frequently used for both meat and cheese products. Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein as well as other non-dairy products. Check for casein listed on the ingredient label. Some meats may also contain casein as a binder, so ask! Also keep in mind that some restaurants put butter on steaks, vegetables, and other dishes after they have been grilled or cooked to add extra flavor; inform your waiter of the allergy as well as the fact that you must avoid butter.

Milk is sometimes found in: artificial butter flavor, caramel candies, chocolate, lactic acid starter culture and other bacterial cultures, hot dogs, sausages, margarine, and nougat. It is important to always read labels, and if no ingredients are listed don’t try it, its better to be safe than sorry!

Baked goods frequently contain milk but fortunately, milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute in baking and cooking. It can be substituted, in equal amounts, with water or fruit juice. (e.g., substitute 1 cup milk with 1 cup water.)

It is important to remember that allergies are individual and it is important to discuss with your physician how to go about testing various “safe” foods so that you can find out what works for you.

If you are dining out, sending your child to school, a friend’s house, and more, you may find our Food Allergy Buddy & Celiac BFFvery useful.

The information in this article was provided by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.