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Avoid Milk Allergy Reactions by Checking Food Labels

By Suzanne Havala Hobbs

If you are sensitive or allergic to milk protein or milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products, you may need to identify small amounts of these ingredients that sneak into your diet. Finding these dairy-based ingredients requires some close attention to ingredient lists.

  • Casein (or caseinate): Find it added to nondairy creamers, nutrition bars, salad dressings, whipped toppings, breath mints, and some soy cheeses.

  • Lactalbumin: Find this protein added to baked goods, snack foods, textured vegetable protein products, and other processed foods.

  • Whey: This liquid plasma portion of cow’s milk is used in crackers, breads, processed cheeses, and other processed foods.

  • Other milk byproducts are made from the milk sugar lactose. They include saccharum lactin and D-lactose, which are used as a culture medium to sour milk. They’re also used in processed foods, such as baby formula, desserts, and other sweets. In addition to foods, you also may find these ingredients in medicines, such as diuretics and laxatives.

    A large number of processed foods contain dairy products or byproducts. The following list shows you some of the less-obvious foods that may contain dairy:

    • Baby formula

    • Baked goods

    • Baking mixes

    • Bircher muesli (Swiss granola cereal made with cream)

    • Biscuits

    • Breading on fried foods

    • Breads

    • Breakfast cereals

    • Breath mints

    • Candy

    • Caramel

    • Chocolate

    • Chocolate drink mixes

    • Coffee creamers (even some nondairy varieties)

    • Cookies

    • Crackers

    • Cream liqueurs

    • Ghee (clarified butter)

    • Granola bars

    • Gravy

    • Instant potatoes

    • Margarine

    • Reduced-lactose milks, such as Lactaid

    • Sherbet

    • Soy cheese

    • Whipped toppings