Cow's milk protein allergy diet: Reading Food Labels for Sources of Cow’s Milk Protein

If your baby is allergic to cow’s milk protein, foods containing cow’s milk protein (including cow’s milk and all dairy products) will need to be excluded from your baby’s diet.
If you are breastfeeding, and your baby has an allergic reaction to the cow’s milk protein you eat, eliminating cow’s milk protein from your diet may help. Discuss any dietary changes with your doctor.
It can be difficult to know which foods contain cow’s milk protein. It is best to read labels carefully and contact food manufacturers about any questionable ingredients or ask the person who prepared the food. Don’t eat a food or product if the label has precautionary statements such as “may contain milk”. Read ingredient lists carefully and learn to identify other names for cow’s milk, such as lactose and casein.
Cow’s milk is common in many processed foods. Carefully review ingredient lists on all processed food to identify sources of cow’s milk. The following list can help you find foods that contain cow’s milk; however, the list may not be complete. Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you require additional information.

Common Sources of Cow’s Milk

  • All cow’s milk (skim, 1%, 2%, 3.25%)
  • Other types of cow’s milk ​(Buttermilk, chocolate milk, calcium fortified milk beverage, evaporated milk, filtered milk, lactose-free milk, milk with DHA, organic milk, omega-3 milk beverage, prebiotic or probiotic milk beverage, powdered milk (skim or whole milk powder), sweetened condensed milk, UHT milk)
  • Butter
  • Cheese, curds, cottage cheese
  • Cream, ice cream, frozen yogurts
  • Custard
  • Ghee and butterfat
  • Kefir (milk drink)
  • Kumiss (fermented milk drink)
  • Malt drink mixes
  • Pudding (from milk)
  • Quark (European cheese)
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt (from milk)

Other names for cow’s milk:

  • Alpha-lactalbumin
  • Beta-lactoglobulin
  • Casein, rennet casein
  • Caseinate (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
  • Delactosed or demineralized whey
  • Dry milk, milk solids
  • Hydrolyzed (casein, milk protein, whey and whey protein)
  • Lactalbumin and lactalbumin phosphate
  • Lacto-serum
  • Lactose
  • Lactulose
  • Lactoferrin
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Milk derivative, fat and protein
  • Milk solids
  • Modified milk ingredients
  • Skim milk powder, skim milk powder solids
  • Whey and whey protein concentrate

Highly Probable Sources of Cow's Milk:

  • Broth and bouillons
  • Caramel (candy)
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee whiteners
  • Cookies
  • Cream soups
  • Deli meats
  • Desserts (cakes, doughnuts)
  • Dips
  • Dough
  • Fat replacers (for example Opta and Simplesse)
  • Flan
  • Flavored coffees
  • Glazes on bakery products
  • Ice pops (all types of popsicles)
  • Instant/mashed/scalloped potatoes
  • Margarine
  • Nougat
  • Pizza
  • Puddings
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Sausages
  • Sherbet
  • Soups, soup mixes
  • Soy cheese (with casein)
  • Spreads and others

Possible Sources of Cow's Milk:

  • Annatto (colouring that may contain lactose)
  • Artificial butter flavor
  • Bread
  • Calcium-enriched fruit juices
  • Caramel (colouring)
  • Cereals
  • Crackers
  • Flavoring
  • Frozen/dehydrated meals and food
  • Natural/artificial flavors
  • Seasoned french fries/potato chips
  • Seasonings
  • Tofu

Possible Non-Food Sources of Cow's Milk:

  • Beauty products
  • Cosmetics
  • Medications and supplements
  • Pet food
  • Vaccines and others.

The following ingredients do not contain cow’s milk protein:

(Although these ingredients have names similar to milk components, they are not actually related to milk, and are therefore safe for consumption by those with cow’s milk protein allergies)

  • Calcium and sodium lactate
  • Calcium and sodium stearoyl lactylate
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cream of tartar
  • Oleoresin