29 foods to avoid if you have a milk allergy
Milk Allergy cross reactivity is a very important topic is not discussed by primary care providers.
Milk can be sneaky. Sometimes having a milk allergy means avoiding foods that you don’t think have milk or milk products in them!
This is because of milk allergy cross reactions.
If you have a milk allergy, you are often told to avoid milk. But what other foods have milk allergy cross reactivity? This is a question where you are left to find out on your own.
And if your google-fu is not perfect… you run the risk of a milk allergy cross reaction causing a potentially life threatening anaphylaxis.
So lets go through what I tell my allergy friends so we all know the best plan to avoid milk allergy cross reactivity.
I was recently diagnosed with a milk allergy. What other foods do I need to avoid?
I was recently diagnosed with a milk allergy and don’t know what other foods to avoid (due to milk allergy cross reactions).
This is probably a simple question for you, but when I asked my primary care doctor they said that I needed to see an allergist to get the answer.
It seemed that I’d be spending a lot of money for what is likely a very easy answer. Can you help?
Thank you so much for asking. I think the way you approached this was exactly correct! This is a relatively simple question I can easily answer for you.
It’s also question the most primary care providers should be able to answer but can’t.
There was a recent study done that showed only 23% (less than one fourth) of primary care providers told patients to avoid cheese or yogurt in a milk allergy! (spoiler alert: the answer should have been 100% avoid these foods in an IgE-mediated milk allergy due to milk cross reactivity.)
I will do better than that for you today.
Do you have a true milk allergy?
Based on your question, I would assume yes. But many people are told they have a milk allergy when they really have a milk intolerance. This article is specifically written for people who have an IgE-mediated milk allergy with symptoms of anaphylaxis and diagnosed by either scratch test or blood test.
If you are unsure, take this time to read this post to find out if you have a milk allergy vs. milk intolerance.
29 Foods to Avoid due to Milk Allergy Cross Reactivity
If you have a milk allergy, you not only need to avoid milk but also all foods that contain milk protein.
A milk allergy is not a dose-dependent process. There is no “small amount is ok” for an IgE-mediated milk allergy. So you need to be careful and read labels to ensure you don’t accidentally eat a small amount of milk.
The FDA has tried to help by requiring food manufacturers label foods that contain milk or that contain milk components. However, it is still important to know what you are looking for and to be very active in avoiding products that contain milk.
And this is where it gets tricky.
Milk can go by many different names, most of which are not common sense to identify a milk allergy.
I have listed the different names for milk below but you can also downloadso that you can have them with you while shopping.
First, avoid milk in all forms:
- All forms of milk powder
- Milk protein
- Evaporated milk
- Condensed milk
- Dry or powder milk
- Low-fat or non-fat milk
- Also, avoid GOAT’s MILK (which has a 90% cross reactivity in milk allergy)
Second, avoid these foods that either contain milk or milk allergy cross reactivity:
- Artificial butter flavor
- Butter fat
- Butter oil
- Cottage cheese
- Half & Half
- Rennet casein
- Sour cream
- Sour milk solids
And finally, these products MAY contain milk and should be regarded with caution:
- Caramel flavoring
- Lactic acid starter culture
- Lactose (margarine)
- High protein flour
- Non-dairy products flavoring
NOTE: I have tried to highlight some of the trickier words that you would need to avoid with label reading. You can also download this list (and a free wallet card to carry with you) <TL>here</TL>
Resources for Milk Allergy and Milk Allergy Cross Reactivity
In addition to this list, the food allergy and anaphylaxis network https://blog.foodallergy.org/ is a very good website that has an active community that tries to figure out what products have milk (or any food allergen) and try to help their readers avoid the risk of an allergic reaction.
These are some other helpful websites that I like to share to people with food allergies:
- Onespot Allergy http://blog.onespotallergy.com/
- The Allergy-Friendly Cook http://cybelepascal.com/
- Learning to Eat Allergy Free http://www.learningtoeatallergyfree.com/
Beyond Avoidance for Milk Allergy and Milk Allergy Cross Reactivity
My goal is to protect you or your child from having an an accidental food ingestion from milk or a milk allergy cross reaction.
Avoidance of milk and milk allergy cross reactions is ALWAYS the primary treatment.
But never forget that if an accidental reaction occurs, the treatment is EPINEPHRINE.
No matter how careful you are with milk allergy label reading, it is important to always have an injectable epinephrine pen for any food allergy.
Dosing of epinephrine, in case you want to know, is:
- If your child weighs less than 66 pounds (30kg) – 0.15 mg dose
- If you or your child weigh more than 66 pounds (30kg) – 0.30 mg dose
Additional Reading for Milk Allergy / Milk Allergy Cross Reactivity
If you have read this far, then you have the most important answers to the question of what foods to avoid if you have a milk allergy.
If you wanted additional reading, I would suggest you read my post about which food allergies are more likely to be lifelong and which ones are more likely to be outgrown.
I will also be adding links to answer cross reactivity questions for these other foods:
- Milk (which is this post)
- Tree nuts
NOTE: If you want to read these topics, click on the link and I will send you the information even if the blog post isn’t finished yet.
Before you go:
Normally I ask everyone to share the post on facebook or pinterest to help other people with food allergy. I would still ask you to do this if you found this article helpful.
But in this particular post, I’m going to ask something different.
- What do you think about sending me the name of your primary care provider so that I can send them a letter containing all the most common food allergies and what to avoid?
- I will not identify anyone’s name directly, so this will remain anonymous.
- But this way we can help all the people with food allergies get this information directly from their primary care provider!
If there any providers that you would like me to reach out to with this information, please click here and submit their name and address and I will be very happy to do that.