Understanding Milk Allergies

Allergy to cow’s milk is the most prevalent food allergy in infants and young children. About 2.5 percent of children under three years old is allergic to milk. Nearly all babies who acquire allergies to milk do so in their first year of life.

Keep a wallet-sized reference card with you of all the scientific and technical terms wherever you are with a How to Read a Milk Label card.

Allergic Responses to Milk
Irritability caused by cow’s milk differs from person to person, and responses can be variable. Symptoms of a milk allergy reaction can extend from mild, such as hives or skin breakouts, to severe symptoms, such as anaphylaxis.

If you have a milk allergy, maintained an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an Adrenaclick®, EpiPen®, and Auvi-Q™ ) with you at all times. Epinephrine is the first-line medication and treatment for treatment for anaphylaxis.

Avoiding Milk
To prevent a reaction, it is very imperative that you avoid cow’s milk and cow’s milk produce. Always read food labels and ask inquiries about ingredients prior eating food that you have not provided yourself.

If you are allergic to cow’s milk, your physician may recommend you also avoid milk from other domestic animals. For example, goat’s milk protein is comparable to cow’s milk protein and may produce a response in people who have a milk allergy.

Milk is one of the eight significant allergens that must be placed on packaged foods sold in the U.S., as required by federal law. Download this resource on how to recognize milk in food labels.

Avoid foods that contain milk or any of these ingredients:

Butter, butter fat, butter oil, butter acid, butter ester(s)
Casein hydrolysate
Cottage cheese
Caseinates (in all forms)
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Milk (in all forms including condensed, derivative, dry, evaporated, goat’s milk and milk from other animals, low-fat, malted, milkfat, non-fat, powder, protein, skimmed, solids, whole)
Milk protein hydrolysate
Rennet casein
Sour cream, sour cream solids
Sour milk solids
Whey (in all forms)
Whey protein hydrolysate
Other Possible Sources of Milk:

Artificial butter flavor
Baked goods
Caramel candies
Lactic acid starter culture and other bacterial cultures
Luncheon meat, hot dogs and sausages, which may use the milk protein casein as a binder. Also, deli meat slicers are often used for both meat and cheese products, leading to cross-contact.
Non-dairy products, as many contain casein
Shellfish is sometimes dipped in milk to reduce the fishy odor. Ask questions when buying shellfish.
Tuna fish, as some brands contain casein
Some specialty products made with milk substitutes (i.e., soy-, nut- or rice-based dairy products) are manufactured on equipment shared with milk.
Many restaurants put butter on grilled steaks to add extra flavor. You can’t see the butter after it melts.
Some medications contain milk protein.
Allergens are not always present in this food and products, but milk protein can appear in unexpected places. Again, read food labels and suggest questions if you’re ever uncertain about an item’s ingredients.

Milk in Kosher Foods
Kosher Dairy: A “D” or the word “dairy” following the circled K or U on a product label means the proudcts contains or is contaminated with milk protein. Avoid these products and goods if you have a milk allergy.

Kosher Pareve: A food product labeled “pareve” is regarded as milk-free under the kosher dietary law. However, a product may be labled pareve even if it contains a minimal amount of milk protein—possibly sufficient to cause an allergic reaction in certain people. Do not assume that these products will always be safe. Read more about kosher labeling>

Do These Ingredients Contain Milk?
People allergic to milk often have questions about the following ingredients. These components do not contain milk protein and are safe to eat.

Calcium lactate
Cocoa butter
Calcium stearoyl lactylate
Cream of tartar
Lactic acid (nevertheless, lactic acid starter culture may comprise milk)
Sodium stearoyl lactylate
Sodium lactate
Will My Child Outgrow a Milk Allergy?
Most children ultimately outgrow a milk allergy. The allergy is most inclined to continue in adolesence who have high levels of cow’s milk antibodies in their blood.

Blood tests that contain these antibodies can assist your allergist to determine whether or not a infant is likely to outgrow a milk allergy.