Use this list to check food labels for cow's milk or milk products. Also, ask your doctor if sheep and goat's milk are safe. For most people with a milk allergy, the answer is no -- the proteins in sheep and goat’s milk are similar to those in cow’s milk and also cause a reaction.
Don't get lactose intolerance confused with a milk allergy. They're not the same thing. Lactose intolerance is when you can't digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. You'll often get symptoms like stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea. With a milk allergy, the symptoms affect more than just your digestive tract. A milk allergy is when your immune system thinks dairy is a foreign invader and attacks it by releasing chemicals called histamines. Symptoms can range from wheezing problems to vomiting and diarrhea.
Allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States -- the poor souls who sniffle, sneeze, and get all clogged up when face to face with the allergen (or allergens) that set them off.
For many, allergies are seasonal and mild, requiring nothing more than getting extra tissue or taking a decongestant occasionally. For others, the allergy is to a known food, and as long as they avoid the food, no problem.
But for legions of others adults, allergies are so severe it interferes with their...
Cheese, including cottage cheese and cheese sauces
Cream, including sour cream
Milk, including buttermilk, powdered milk, and evaporated milk
Foods With Milk in Them
These foods often contain cow's milk protein. Check their labels before buying. If you're eating out, ask if milk was used to make them.
Au gratin dishes and white sauces
Baked goods -- bread, cookies, crackers, cakes
Chocolate and cream candy
Creamed or scalloped foods
Meats -- canned and processed, including cold cuts and deli meats
Nougat, found in some candy
Ingredients With Milk
If you see these listed on a label, the food has milk proteins in it:
Artificial butter or cheese flavor
Casein or caseinates
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Lactose, lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, lactulose
Whey or whey products
Tips for Living Well With a Milk Allergy
Find other ways to get vitamins and minerals. Dairy products are an important source of calcium, protein, and vitamins D and B12. If you or your child has a milk allergy, foods such as broccoli, spinach, and soy products can help fill the void. A registered dietitian can help you develop a well-balanced eating plan.
Try dairy substitutes. Drink soy, rice, and almond milk that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Look for non-dairy ice cream, chocolate, cheese, and yogurt.
Be careful with kosher products. Some may contain milk protein, even those labeled "pareve," which are considered milk-free under kosher guidelines.
Ask your pediatrician about safe formula. If you have a baby with a milk allergy, the doctor may suggest an extensively hydrolyzed, casein-based formula.
Avoid milk outside the kitchen. Check labels on cosmetics, creams, and ointments to see if they contain cow’s milk in any form. Some medicines also contain whey, which is made from milk.