The key to an allergy-free diet is to stay away from foods or products containing the food to which you are allergic. The items that you are allergic to are called allergens. Milk allergy is most common among infants and young children. Common forms of milk are cream, cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurt. Milk and milk products may also be used as ingredients in many other foods. To stay away foods that contain milk and milk products, you must read food labels.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) is a law that requires U.S. packaged foods to state clearly on the label if they contain milk.
The word nondairy on a product label means it does not contain butter, cream, or milk. But the food may have other milk-containing ingredients.
Kosher foods are labeled with a circled K or U. These foods may also have the word pareve or parve. This means the food is free of milk and milk products. A D for dairy on a product label next to the K or U means the product contains milk or milk products. Stay away from these products.
Processed meats often contain milk. These include hot dogs, sausages, and lunch or deli meats. Carefully read all food labels.
Always read the entire ingredient label to look for milk. Milk ingredients may be in the ingredient list. Or milk could be listed in a “contains milk” statement after the ingredient list. Stay away from foods that have any of the following ingredients:
Artificial butter flavor
Butter, butter fat, butter oil
Casein, casein hydrolysates
Caseinates (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
Cheese, cottage cheese
Half and half
Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Derivative, protein, solids, malted, condensed, evaporated, or dry
Whole, low-fat, nonfat, skim
Goat's milk and milk from other animals
Sour cream or sour cream solids
Whey (delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate)
Other sources of milk or milk products include:
Brown sugar flavoring
Flavorings (natural and artificial)
High protein flour
Luncheon meats, hot dogs, sausages
Foods that don't contain milk could be contaminated during manufacturing. Advisory statements are not regulated by the FDA. They are voluntary. These include labels such as "processed in a facility that also processed milk." Or "made on shared equipment." Ask your healthcare provider if you can eat foods with these labels. Or if you should stay away from them.
Some foods and products are not covered by the FALCPA law. These include:
Foods that are not regulated by the FDA
Cosmetics and personal care items
Prescription and over-the-counter medicines and supplements
Toys, crafts, and pet foods
Always carry 2 epinephrine autoinjectors. Make sure you and those close to you know how to use it.
Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace with your allergy information.
If you don't have epinephrine auto-injectors, talk with your healthcare provider. Ask if you should carry them.
In a restaurant, food may be cross-contaminated with milk.
Always read food labels. And always ask about ingredients at restaurants. Do this even if these are foods that you have eaten in the past.
Don't eat at buffets with milk. This reduces your risk for cross-contaminated foods from shared utensils.