Hidden Food Allergens Series: Dairy

Posted 5.4.10 | Nutrition Specialist

Grocery shopping is always a hard task, but it is even harder when you are shopping for someone with food allergies! Worse, the ingredients your little ones may be allergic to can be hidden within the food label. With our latest series, we will aim to uncover some of the sources of hidden allergens.

New food labeling laws require the top eight food allergens to be listed on food labels. This is really helpful for those reading food labels; however, sometimes allergens can be hidden in the long words in the ingredient list.

Dairy is one of the ingredients which tends to be hidden in foods that you may have otherwise thought were safe. I wanted to share with you a list of some ingredients to watch out for. Some of these definitely contain diary, while others only possibly contain diary.

When viewing the list below, it’s important to always err on the side of caution. If you think there may be traces of dairy in something, call the manufacturer of the product you would like to purchase and inquire. If they cannot guarantee that the product is free of dairy, avoid it!

Foods with dairy ingredients:

  • Milk and milk products(including condensed, derivative, dry, evaporated, goat’s milk and milk from other animals, low-fat, malted, milkfat, milk protein hydrolysate, nonfat, powder, protein, skimmed, solids, whole)
  • Butter, butter fat, butter oil, butter acid, butter ester(s), buttermilk
  • Casein, casein hydrolysate, caseinates (in all forms)
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Diacetyl
  • Ghee
  • Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactoferrin, lactulose
  • Pudding
  • Recaldent®
  • Rennet casein
  • Sour cream, sour cream solids, sour milk solids
  • Tagatose
  • Whey (in all forms), whey protein hydrolysate
  • Yogurt

Foods with potential dairy ingredients:

  • Artificial or natural flavorings (anything which is derived from butter, cream and egg flavors)
  • Chewing gum
  • Deli meats
  • Fat replacers
  • Many types of chocolate (although dark chocolate is often free of dairy)
  • Margarine
  • Prebiotics (galactooligosaccharides, also known as GOS, are derived from dairy sources. Don’t worry, Neocate Junior with Prebiotics only contains prebiotics in the form of fructooligosaccharides, also known as FOS, which are derived from vegetables.)
  • Salad dressings

For a more complete list of foods to avoid when accommodating for a dairy allergy, visit the Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis Network website or check out Alisa Marie Flemming’s book Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living and website for more resources.

Can you share any foods you have found that have surprising hidden dairy ingredients?

- Nita

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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.