When your child has a food allergy, they must follow an allergy-free diet. This means your child can't have the food they are allergic to or any products containing that food. The items that your child is allergic to are called allergens.
A milk allergy is the body's abnormal response to the proteins found in cow's milk. Milk allergy is most common among infants and young children. As they get older, many children will outgrow a milk allergy. Milk and milk products are found in many foods. People often think of milk as an ingredient in cream, cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurt. Milk and milk products may also be hidden sources in commonly eaten foods. To stay away from foods that contain milk products, you must read all food labels.
Milk is an important source of calcium. Your child needs calcium for healthy bones, teeth, and nerves. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about foods with calcium that you can give to your child. Some examples are green leafy vegetables, orange juice with calcium added, figs, tofu, and dried beans.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) is a law that requires food products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 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 product may have other milk-containing ingredients.
The word "lactose-free" on a product label does not mean dairy-free. The product may still have milk or milk products. Always read the whole label to be sure.
Kosher food labeled "pareve" or "parve" almost always means that the food is free of milk and milk products. A "D" on a product label next to the circled "K" or "U" means there is milk protein. Don't use these products.
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 you may need to 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
Processed meats often contain milk or are processed on milk-containing lines. This includes hot dogs, sausages, and lunch meats.
The lists below may not include all products that could contain milk. But they can help guide your food decisions. It is up to you to carefully read all food labels.
Soy substitute-milk formulas, water
All milks (whole, low-fat, skim, buttermilk, evaporated, condensed, powdered, hot cocoa)
Yogurt, eggnog, milkshakes, malts
All drinks made with milk or milk products
French bread (water-based)
Wheat, white, rye, corn, graham, gluten, and soy breads made without milk or milk products
Graham crackers or rice wafers
Wheat, white, or rye breads
Biscuits, donuts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, zwieback, crackers, saltines, rusk
Most commercially made breads and rolls contain milk or milk products
French toast made with milk
Any cereal that does not have added milk or milk products
Prepared and precooked cereals with milk solids, casein, or other milk products added
Meringue, gelatin, ice pops, fruit ice, fruit whip, angel food cake
Cakes, cookies, and pie crusts made without milk or milk products
Cake, cookies, custard, pudding, cream desserts, or sherbet containing milk products
Ice cream, cream pie
Pastries brushed with milk, junket, popover
Prepared without milk
Scrambled with milk, creamed eggs, egg substitutes
Vegetable oil, meat fat, lard, bacon, shortening, milk-free gravy
Peanut butter (made without milk solids)
Margarine without milk solids
Butter, cream, margarine
Salad dressing or mayonnaise containing milk, milk solids, or milk products
Some butter substitutes and nondairy creamers
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and juices
Any served with milk, butter, or cream
Meats, fish, poultry, and cheese
Baked, broiled, boiled, roasted or fried: beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, organ meats, or tofu (prepared without milk or milk products)
Sausage, deli or lunch meats, or ham if made without milk products
A small number of people with cow's milk allergy may develop a reaction to beef. People with cow's milk allergy should be careful when having beef or foods containing beef.
All cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese
Some sausage products, bologna, hot dogs
Breaded meats, meatloaf, croquettes, casseroles, hamburgers (unless made without milk)
Commercial entrees made with milk or milk solids
Potatoes and substitutes
Macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, rice
White or sweet potatoes made without milk, butter, cream, or allowed margarine
Au gratin, buttered, creamed, scalloped potato, or substitutes
Macaroni and cheese
Mashed potatoes made with milk or butter
Frozen French fries sprayed with lactose
Bouillon, broth, consommé, or soups with broth base plain or with all allowed foods
Bisques, chowders, creamed soups
All soups made with milk or milk products
Corn syrup, honey, jam, jelly
Hard candy, candy made without milk or milk products
Granulated, brown or powdered sugar
Candy made with milk, such as chocolate, fudge, caramels, nougat
All fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables without milk or milk products added
All vegetable juices
Au gratin, buttered, creamed, or scalloped vegetables
Batter and dipped vegetables
Ketchup, olives, pickles, nuts, herbs, chili powder, salt, spices, condiments
Any foods that have no milk, cheese, or butter. Also foods that don't have powdered milk or whey.
All items containing milk, cheese, butter, whey casein, caseinates, hydrolysates, lactose, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, milk solids, or artificial butter flavor
Nondairy substitutes containing caseinate
Don't have foods that contain any of the following ingredients:
Artificial butter flavor
Butter, butter fat
Caseinates (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
Cheese, cottage cheese, curds
Half-and-half (a blend of whole milk and light cream)
Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Milk (derivative, protein, solids, malted, condensed, evaporated, dry, whole, low-fat, nonfat, skim)
Sour cream solids
Whey (delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate)
Brown sugar flavoring
Lunch meats, hot dogs, sausages
Milk-based fat substitutes