Alternaria. Aspergillus. Cladosporium. Penicillium. Unless you have a special fondness for fungi, you’re probably not too familiar with these or any of the thousands of other common molds.
But if you’re among the estimated 5% of Americans who have mold allergies, you may be all too well acquainted with the itchy eyes, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and other symptoms mold allergies can cause. Severe mold allergies can even trigger potentially dangerous asthma attacks.
If you're allergic to milk protein and you see one of these names in the ingredients list, don't buy it.
Casein, casein hydrolysate, and caseinates
Lactose and lactulose
Milk (all types)
Whey (in all forms)
Where Milk Hides
Baked goods and cake mixes
Hot dogs and deli meat
Indian food, where ghee (a form of butter) is very common
Battered and fried foods
Vegetarian cheese and soy cheese
How to Choose Safe Foods
Stick with packaged and labeled foods. Foods from salad bars, deli counters, and bakeries are more likely to accidentally have your allergy triggers in them.
Read food labels every time you buy a product -- even if it's something you buy every week. Food manufacturers change ingredients all the time. A food that has been safe for you and your family may not always be.
If you see an ingredient you're not sure about, be careful. Look it up first. Consider contacting the manufacturer if you need more info.
Buying a different size or low-fat version? Read food labels. Low-fat or reduced-calorie versions of familiar foods may have very different ingredients. Sizing (like snack-sized packs) or packaging (a can vs. a carton) can affect ingredients. Some products may have different ingredients in different parts of the country.
Check labels on medications and toiletries. Food allergens can show up in drugs, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, and lotions.
Do ask and tell. At restaurants, let the staff, servers, managers, cooks, or chef know about your food allergy and special accommodations that you might need. Don’t be afraid to ask how a dish is prepared. Sometimes it can be hard to tell everything that is in a dish based on how it is listed on the menu. Plain, simply prepared foods are your best bet.
Avoid processed foods that are high in protein. They could contain milk proteins, casein, or whey.