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Foods to Avoid on a Milk-Free Diet

How to identify hidden dairy products in foods


Updated May 27, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Various cake fillings and curds
Iain Bagwell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Milk is one of the eight most common food allergies in the United States, and is covered by the food allergy labeling law (FALCPA). Food producers must have a warning about dairy products on ingredient labels. However, you should still learn the names of dairy-based ingredients, because some foods, such as those in bakeries, will not have allergy warning labels.

Food Products That May Contain Dairy Ingredients

Almost all baked goods, such as cakes, pastries, or cookies, contain dairy products. Dairy ingredients can also hide in unexpected places such as non-dairy creamer and canned tuna. Always check ingredient labels before purchasing or eating a product, even if you have eaten it before.

  • Artificial butter or butter flavor
  • Baked goods (including some type of breads) and baking mixes
  • Battered and fried foods
  • Broth and bouillons
  • Butter
  • Bread
  • Candy
  • Canned tuna
  • Caramel
  • Caramel coloring or flavoring
  • Casseroles
  • Cereals
  • Cheese
  • Cheese flavor
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Cream
  • Curds
  • Custard
  • Deli and processed meats
  • Dips and salad dressings
  • Egg and fat substitutes
  • French fries
  • Frozen prepared foods
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Glazes
  • Granola bars
  • Gravies and sauces
  • High-protein flour
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream
  • Lattes or other fancy coffee drinks
  • Malt-drink mixes
  • Margarine
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Nougat
  • Pâté
  • Pizza
  • Pudding
  • Recaldent™, used in tooth-whitening chewing gums
  • Sausages
  • Seasoned chips
  • Seasonings
  • Simplesse®
  • Soups and soup mixes
  • Soy cheese
  • Yogurt

Other Names for Milk Ingredients

  • Beta-lactoglobulin
  • Casein
  • Caseinate (ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, and sodium caseinate)
  • Delactosed or demineralized whey
  • Hydrolyzed casein
  • Hydrolyzed milk protein
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactalbumin phosphate
  • Lactose
  • Lactoferrin
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Beta-lactoglobulin
  • Casein, rennet casein
  • Caseinate (ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, and sodium caseinate)
  • Delactosed or demineralized whey
  • Dry milk, milk solids
  • Hydrolyzed casein and hydrolyzed milk protein
  • Lactalbumin and lactalbumin phosphate
  • Lactose
  • Lactoferrin, lactoglobulin
  • Rennet casein
  • Whey and whey protein concentrate

Foods That Are (Surprisingly) Dairy-Free

  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut milk
  • Calcium lactate
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lactic acid (beware as some lactic acid starter culture is made from milk, while others are not)

NOTE: Foods labeled "Kosher: dairy-free" or "Kosher: Pareve" may not be safe for people with dairy allergies. They may contain trace elements of dairy products.


Food Allergy Initiative. Milk Allergy. Accessed 4/16/2011. http://www.faiusa.org/?page=milk

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Milk Allergy. Accessed 4/16/2011. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/milklaite.shtml

Mofidi, S., et al. Reactions to food products labeled dairy-free: Quantity of milk contaminant. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 105, Issue 1, Part 2, January 2000, Page S138

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