Hidden Dairy In Your Food
Oh My! There’s Dairy In That?
There is milk in your bread, in your breath mints, even in that can of tuna! While it is not in every single brand of the products mentioned, it is in many of them. It is not a given that the product will say that it contains milk or milk products. A savvy consumer-oriented manufacturer will label it, but not every manufacturer will.
Milk typically consumed by humans beyond their infancy in the United States is from the females of the bovine or goat. Some cultures consume milk from other animals such as sheep and camels. Milk is obtained directly from the mammary glands of the animals by various methods from hand-milking to using large automatic commercial apparatus to obtain the milk. That milk in the jug on the store shelves may never have been touched by a human hand. Automation for obtaining cow’s milk leads the cow to the milking station, washes the udder, automatically attaches the milking devices, extracts the milk, and sends the cow on her way until next time.
Only mammals that have given birth to offspring will produce milk naturally. Natural birthing times for cows are seasonal and are typically during the spring of each year. The birthing times can be and are manipulated by humans who need to force milk production in order to provide for the consumer year-round.
So what is in it? Milk is primarily water with the main carbohydrate being lactoseâ€”milk sugar. Then there are milk fats and proteins followed by vitamins and minerals. Milk fat is 98% of the triglyceride fat type. For those sensitive to or allergic to milk, it is the proteins that are of the most concern. Milk proteins are casein and whey, but there are constituents to each category.
Casein from milk used in food and personal care products will be easy to spot, when they are on the label, by looking for any word that has casein in it such as caseinate. Whey proteins can be broken down into derivatives with different names. Look on the label for lacto, lacta and globulin. Those terms can be part of bigger words such a lactoglobulin. There are some products that have â€œlactâ€ as part of the chemical name but are actually dairy-free, and other products such as cream of tartar do not actually have dairy (cream) in them.
Look for â€œpareveâ€ â€œparveâ€ or â€œparevâ€ on the label, which means it is neither meat nor dairy. (Not the â€œPâ€, which is a Kosher symbol for food that is approved for Passover and other times). Though it is not an absolute guarantee of zero dairy, it is a decent indicator. Errors can occur, and pareve, parve, or parev on labeling means that the product is supervised by one who certifies food as Kosher. This means that the product is at the mercy of the one who is doing the certifying. For this author there is a state law that prohibits anyone from labeling a product as Kosher, with its varying specifics, if the product is not truly Kosher. Your state may have such laws as well.
Kosher is a religious term meaning a food conforms to Jewish Dietary Law. The strict adherence to such Dietary Law is a benefit for the rest of us who may not follow such a belief. Companies want their products consumed by the largest amount of consumers that they can reach. Companies have recognized the benefit to their bottom line in providing Kosher foods. Making a food Kosher has no negative effect on the consumer who is not Jewish, but has a positive effect in getting customers who are Jewish to consume the product. All of us who suffer from food sensitivities or allergies should thank our Jewish friends for getting companies to comply with Kosher.
Typically on product labels milk or milk components will be labeled as milk, butter, cream, whey and casein. However, milk is in so many products that it is a frightening prospect to consider for those who are sensitive or allergic to milk. To make the point a little clearer, be sure to ask your dentist if any milk components are in any of the materials or medicines he is intending on using or prescribing.
If your chewing gum has recaldent in it, then it has milk products in it. If the gum or toothpaste says â€œwhiteningâ€ on the label, there is probably a milk derivative in the product. There are parts of milk in some skin lotions, cosmetics, sunscreens, and even in some paints! Of course the only time that it should be of concern for even the most severe allergy sufferer of milk with paint would be either the sufferer getting fresh paint on their skin, or breathing in vapors as the paint dries. For those with just a sensitivity to milk, there may be no issue at all if any milk derivative is topically applied or breathed in.
Many who suffer from a dairy sensitivity or allergy are switching to soy-based products to substitute for the dairy they have been avoiding. Some who are sensitive or allergic to milk have gone on to discover that they are also sensitive or allergic to soy. With over 98% of production soybeans in the United States coming from a soybean that has been genetically modified (Genetically Modified Organism/GMO), it is almost impossible to get soy products that are not either GMO or contaminated with GMOs. Furthermore some products such as soy yogurt use a dairy starter mixture to manufacture the soy yogurt.
The best thing to do is to call each company that makes the food products you either eat or wish to eat. If you are highly allergic to the point that skin contact or breathing in particles will trigger a reaction, then call companies who make the stuff you use in the bathroom, to clean your house or clothes, and even paint your walls. Just to demonstrate the prevalence of milk on our society, there are even clothes that utilize milk in manufacturing.
When speaking to a company representative who will only be able to discuss what they have been trained to discuss by their employer, it is important to follow up the verbal information by obtaining a written document from the company. Whether it is a brochure or a letter about what is in the product, get it in writing. If it is on a website, print it out with the URL and date. It isn’t an absolute guarantee that milk will not show up in the company products regardless of the claim, but it will be beneficial for the consumer who has had enough and wishes to pursue litigation.
Milk is everywhere, and that’s okay. Much of the population is not sensitive or allergic to milk. The issue now isnâ€™t as it was a hundred years ago. If a person back then knew they could not take milk in any form, it was much easier to avoid it. With the modern science we use in manufacturing consumer products today, we can take a product such as milk and turn it into paint! With those capabilities comes responsibility to inform the users of those products.