What is dairy?


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Dairy encompasses cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, and goat’s milk. Those with a milk allergy react to the protein in milk called “casein”. The proteins of other mammals are generally considered different enough that those with a dairy allergy can safely consume such food. This is different from lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest milk sugars due to the lack of the lactase enzyme.

As a major allergen, dairy will be clearly marked on the labels of foods produced for the US market, usually in the form “contains milk”. However, it is still important to learn what to look for to avoid dairy in your diet.

Read the label for dairy

Dairy can be found in butter (all forms), buttermilk, casein and caseinates, cheese, cream, curds, custard, diacetyl, ghee (clarified butter), half-and-half, lactalbumin, lactoferrin, lactose, milk (all forms such as “dry milk”, “evaporated milk”, “condensed milk”, etc), pudding, sour cream, milk solids, whey, and yoghurt. It also may be hidden as “artificial butter flavour”, deli meats, nougat, and caramel.

Please be aware that just because a product name or front label may say “non-dairy” does not mean it is dairy-free. Many dairy substitutes such as yoghurt and margarine are produced on the same equipment as their dairy equivalents and as such may contain dairy.



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