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Milk Allergy Diet

General guidelines for milk allergy

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 from foods that contain milk and milk products, you must read food labels.

Important information about not consuming milk and milk products

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. Labeling may include the word milk within the ingredient list, for example, "whey (milk)," or it may include a "Contains: milk" statement after the ingredient list.

  • 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.

  • Lactose-free milk still contains the milk protein. Avoid lactose-free milk and milk products.

How to read a label for a milk-free diet

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

  • Caseinates (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)

  • Cheese, cottage cheese

  • Cream

  • Custard, pudding

  • Ghee

  • Half and half

  • Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)

  • Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate

  • Lactoglobulin, lactoferrin 

  • Lactose, lactulose 

  • Milk

    • Derivative, protein, solids, malted, condensed, evaporated, or dry

    • Whole, low-fat, nonfat, skim

    • Goat's milk and milk from other animals

    • A2 milk

  • Nisin

  • Nougat

  • Recaldent

  • Rennet casein

  • Sour cream or sour cream solids

  • Whey (delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate)

  • Yogurt

Other possible sources of milk or milk products

Other sources of milk or milk products include:

  • Brown sugar flavoring

  • Caramel flavoring

  • Chocolate

  • Flavorings (natural and artificial) 

  • High protein flour

  • Lactose

  • Luncheon meats, hot dogs, sausages 

  • Margarine

  • Simplesse

Important points

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. 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

  • Toys, crafts, and pet foods

When you are eating out

  • 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 autoinjectors, talk with your healthcare provider. Ask if you should carry them.

  • Always read food labels.

  • In a restaurant, food may be cross-contaminated with milk. Alert the server to your milk allergy.

  • Always ask about ingredients at restaurants. Ask even if you have eaten the food in the past and even if it's a restaurant you've eaten at before. The restaurant may change its recipes.

  • Don't eat at buffets with milk. This reduces your risk for cross-contaminated foods from shared utensils.

Online Medical Reviewer: Deborah Pedersen MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.