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Reading Food Labels for Milk Ingredients

Knowing how to read a food label will help you avoid problems caused by ingredients in foods.  The following terms are "labelese" for milk ingredients.  The Food Allergy Network has pocket-sized laminated cards with common ingredient listings for different food groups. 
Please note that each country has its own laws regarding food labelling. For Canada, check out the link for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

For more detailed information about milk allergy and milk intolerance, refer to the  Milk Allergy  section on the Articles page.

Terms that indicate the presence of cow's-milk protein 

ammonium caseinate lactalbumin phosphate
artificial butter flavor lactose
butter fat
butter solids magnesium caseinate
buttermilk milk derivative
calcium caseinate milk protein
casein milk solids
cheese potassium caseinate
cream rennet casein
curds sodium caseinate
delactosed whey sour cream
demineralized whey sour cream solids
dry milk solids sour milk solids
half & half whey protein concentrate
lactalbumin yogurt

The letter "D" on the front label of a product indicates the product may contain cow's-milk protein. 

Terms they MAY indicate the presence of milk protein: 

  • caramel color 
  • caramel flavoring 
  • high protein flour 
  • natural flavoring 
  • spices 

According to the Food Allergy Network newsletter, "pareve" products are not necessarily milk-free for the purposes of avoidance due to severe milk allergy.  Check with the supplier.

According to a Dietietics manual, the terms "stearyl-2-lactylate", "lactic acid" and "lactate" are additives NOT derived from milk. 

Terms of Use: The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is for your general information only. We cannot be held responsible for anything you could possibly do or say because of information on this site.   Consult your family physician or allergist for specific questions or concerns. 


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