Casein anyone?

So, I was about to go through the very large box of papers to decide what to store, toss, or ship to Maui, but I decided to check on foods containing casein real quickly first. Holy COW! (pun intended) There is casein in everything, it seems. If I truly want to cut it out, I have to basically stay away from anything processed, which I try to do anyway.

I found this site that seems pretty legit. I won’t endorse it, but if you know anyone lactose-intolerant or suffering from eczema, you might want to share it.

P.S. The second part is the one that will really surprise you. Go ahead, take a look, even if you aren’t intolerant. Did you know it might be in your canned tunafish?


  • milk solids (“curds”)
  • whey
  • casein (sodium caseinate, most commonly)
  • lactose (sodium lactylate, frequently)
  • lactalbumin and other names that begin with lact
  • galactose (a lactose by-product) Most people with milk allergies will have no trouble with galactose, but you should be aware that it may cause problems in some people.
  • protein (often “high protein” or “protein enriched” version of another ingredient, such as wheat) The added protein in foods (particularly “high energy” foods) is often milk protein.
  • caramel coloring. Many kinds of caramel coloring use lactose, a milk sugar, to help get that rich color. When in doubt, do without.
  • Recaldent. This ingredient, found in some Trident brand chewing gums, is milk-derived.
  • Fruit flavored Tums contain undisclosed dairy. The original, white Tums are fine.
  • “natural ingredients”. Some of these may contain dairy products or byproducts. Call the manufacturer (an 800 number is usually listed on the packaging) for further information.
  • A new, low-calorie sweetener is coming on the market soon. The good news: it tastes great. The bad news: it’s derived from whey. The name is “tagatose” . It goes under the brand name Naturlose. I’ve contacted the manufacturer to get information about how dangerous it might be for people with milk allergy. (Be aware that it may show up in toothpastes, mouthwashes, foods, and any other places where a low-calorie sweetener would be used.) Tests suggest that it is completely safe for people with milk allergy, but you should read the information sent by the business development manager for tagatose and make your own decision. .
  • and the obvious:
    • milk,
    • butter,
    • cheese,
    • yogurt…

Be especially alert when obtaining the following, as milk products creep in:

  • margarine
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein (for the unusually sensitive person) since the processing phase may utilize casein
  • bread, and breaded (often fried) foods
  • chewing gum
  • soy cheeses
  • “non-dairy” anything, including Cool Whip. Non-dairy does not mean milk-free. It is a term the dairy industry invented to indicate less than 1/2 % milk by weight, which could mean fully as much casein as whole milk!
  • kosher parve desserts. (Most parve foods are okay, but we’ve occasionally had trouble with desserts. It probably has to do with the degree of cleaning between milk and parve runs on the processing equipment.) Kosher recipes, however, are a wonderful source of milk-free cooking ideas.)
  • medicines and vitamins. Be sure to let your physician and pharmacist know about your allergy! Further information is provided below.
  • baby formula. Even some of the hypo-allergenic ones may contain casein in small amounts. ALERT ! Many people with milk allergies also develop soy allergies. (This may be a result of exposure to soy at a very early age.) Most non-dairy baby formulas are soy-based. If your infant has a milk allergy, stay alert to the possibility of a soy allergy, or some other food allergy, developing. (For older babies, rice milk is a good alternative source of calcium.) If your baby is allergic to both milk and soy, consult with your pediatrician regarding an amino acid-based formula.
  • canned tunafish. Many brands contain “hydrolized caseinate”. However, the low sodium ones in spring water (such as Star Kist), and all of Trader Joe brand tunafish, appear to be milk free.
  • chicken broth: Any form, including canned and bouillion. Many brands contain milk solids.
  • NOTE: I’ve been informed that sodium stearoyl lactylate has nothing to do with milk.
  • chocolates. Even dark or bittersweet chocolate is often run on the same production line as milk chocolate, and the risk of cross-contamination is high if YOUR chocolate bar comes from the beginning of the run. You may, however, wish to check out kosher pareve chocolates, such as the ones offered at Chocolate Emporium. (Christmas and Easter themed chocolates are offered at this site, too. You might also wish to try Amandas Own Chocolates.
  • If you purchase Tropical Source brand chocolates, read the bar carefully, as not all flavors are run on dairy-free lines.
  • sour mix, such as what is used to make margaritas, or other artifically “sour” items such as some candies.
  • vinegar flavored potato chips/crisps. The “vinegar” may actually be a milk-derived ingredient.
  • whole poultry fresh from the store *may* be infused with lactose to keep it fresher. Check the ingredient list or purchase a kosher bird.
  • Wine! Casein is one of six substances that may be used to clarify wine. (Egg white is another.) If you call the vintner, ask if casein is used in the “fining process”.
  • Coconut milk powder (dried; not to be confused with canned coconut milk in liquid form). Every brand I’ve found to date contains casein, milk or cream.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s