MILK AND CREAM – legally defined.

– US CFR 2021 Title 21 – Part 131

A Human can suffer two types of responses to Dairy and it’s products.

Lactose Intolerance (NOT AN ALLERGY)
Root cause: Low or no lactase enzyme in stomach

  • Bulking agent in medications
  • Homeopathic preparations
  • Inhalers – causing sinus and airways to inflame
  • Verify Rx with Pharmacist
  • Lactose-free milks and cheeses contain casein

Casein – protein is present in all mammalian milks including those from cow, sheep, goat, and human breast milk.

  • The frequency of true milk allergy is about 5% of the population.
  • Onset usually occurs in the first year or two of life.
  • Most common allergy for kids under 6 years old.
  • 80% develop tolerance by 16 years of age.

Relevance to Food Workers and Food Service

  • Shredded cheese and milk-based dressing may be available on a salad bar – thoughtful setup is crucial in preventing cross-contact.
  • All food workers should be able to identify food or drink that is served or sold that contain Dairy (casein) proteins.
  • Awareness that Dairy allergy can be triggered by ANY kind of animal’s milk.
  • Any form of casein protein, such as in “Dairy-free Cheese” can trigger a reaction.
  • Prompt cleanup of any spills on high-touch surfaces, or in common areas, is critical as Dairy can be a potent contact allergen.

Dairy Products





Casein (-ates)








Half & Half


Ice cream

Imitation milk

Infant formula





Lactulose rennet casein




Sour cream



May Contain Dairy

Basted foods

Battered foods


Bottled water 

Bread, crumbs




Coated foods

Coconut products


Deli meats


Egg replacers

Fat substitutes

Flavored coffees

Flavored drinks


Fried foods

Frozen desserts

Orange juice

Glazed foods

Gluten-free products

High-protein flour

Instant potatoes

May Contain Dairy

Lactose-free products

Liquid meal replacers


Natural flavors





Rotisserie Poultry

Salad dressings



Seasoned foods

Snack food

Soup mixes


Sports drinks



Protein shakes



Dairy – Allergenic Components

Dairy products contain a number of proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. The most common allergenic proteins in dairy products are casein and whey.

Casein is a type of protein that makes up about 80% of the protein in cow’s milk, and it is also found in goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. Casein can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals due to its ability to bind to proteins in the body and stimulate an immune response.

Whey is another type of protein that is found in dairy products and it makes up about 20% of the protein in cow’s milk. Whey can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals due to its ability to stimulate the immune system and trigger an allergic response.

The allergenic proteins in bovine milk include casein, beta-lactoglobulin, and alpha-lactalbumin. These proteins contain specific amino acid sequences that can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

For example, beta-lactoglobulin is a heat-resistant protein that is abundant in bovine milk and is a major allergen for those with cow’s milk allergy. The amino acid sequence for beta-lactoglobulin can vary among different breeds of cows, but it typically contains several allergen-specific domains.

Similarly, alpha-lactalbumin is a calcium-binding protein that is also found in cow’s milk and is another common allergen for those with dairy allergies. Its amino acid sequence contains regions that are recognized as allergens by the immune system of sensitive individuals.

It is important to note that the allergenic properties of these proteins can vary depending on the processing and storage methods used, as well as individual differences in the immune system.

Scientific Designation of Dairy Allergens

Dairy allergens are proteins found in milk and dairy products that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. The most well-known dairy allergens are the proteins casein and whey.

The scientific designations of these allergens are as follows:









Bovine serum albumin (BSA)

It is important to note that not everyone with a dairy allergy will be allergic to all of these proteins. Some people may only have an allergy to one or two of these proteins, while others may have an allergy to all of them. Additionally, some people with a dairy allergy may also have an allergy to other proteins found in milk and dairy products.

Casein – A Versatile Protein

Widely used in the food industry due to its functional properties. Some of the ways casein is used in food include:

  1. Dairy products: Casein is a major component of milk and is used in the production of cheese, yogurt, and other dairy-based products.
  2. Processed foods: Casein is often added to processed foods such as baked goods, sauces, soups, and salad dressings as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier.
  3. Sports nutrition: Casein is a popular ingredient in sports nutrition products, such as protein bars and powders, due to its slow digestibility and sustained release of amino acids.
  4. Infant formula: Casein is a key component of many infant formula products, as it is considered nutritionally similar to human milk.
  5. Meat analogues: Casein is sometimes used in the production of meat analogues, such as vegetarian burgers and sausages, to improve texture and flavor.
  6. Medical products: Casein is used in the production of various medical products, such as wound dressings, because of its adhesive properties.

Casein – Derivatives

Sodium caseinate: Sodium caseinate is a soluble form of casein that is used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, and thickener in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, soups, and processed meats.

Calcium caseinate: Calcium caseinate is a similar derivative to sodium caseinate and is used in the same way.

Casein hydrolysate: Casein hydrolysate is a partially broken down form of casein that is used as a protein source in sports nutrition supplements, infant formulas, and medical nutrition products.

Caseinates: Caseinates are derivatives of casein that have been neutralized with an alkali, such as sodium or potassium, and are used as emulsifiers and stabilizers in foods such as ice cream and whipped toppings.

Casein micelles: Casein micelles are small particles of casein that are present in milk. They are used as a protein source in some functional foods and dietary supplements.

Acid casein: Acid casein is a form of casein that is produced by acidifying milk. It is used as a binding agent in certain foods, such as candy and marshmallows, and as a source of protein in animal feed.

It is important to note that these derivatives of casein can still cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to casein, so it is important to carefully read food labels and avoid products that contain casein or its derivatives if you have a casein allergy.

Dairy on a Label

Casein is sometimes referred to by different names on food labels, including:

  1. Calcium caseinate
  2. Sodium caseinate
  3. Potassium caseinate
  4. Caseinate
  5. Casein protein
  6. Milk protein
  7. Milk casein
  8. Casein hydrolysate
  9. Casein isolate

It’s important to note that some of these names may refer to a derived form of casein, such as a hydrolysate or isolate, which may or may not have the same allergenic properties as the original protein. If you have a milk allergy, it’s important to read the ingredients list carefully and look for any form of casein or milk protein, even if it is listed under a different name.


Lactase is an enzyme that is produced by the small intestine and is responsible for breaking down lactose, the primary sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactase acts by cleaving the glycosidic bond between the glucose and galactose molecules in lactose, producing glucose and galactose. This process is called hydrolysis.

Lactase activity is essential for the digestion and absorption of lactose in the small intestine. People who lack sufficient lactase activity are unable to properly digest lactose, leading to lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Lactase activity is highest in infants and young children, and decreases with age in many populations. Some individuals continue to produce lactase into adulthood and are able to digest lactose without difficulty, while others may experience lactose intolerance. The level of lactase activity can also be influenced by other factors, such as illness or certain medications.

In some cases, lactase supplements can be taken to help people with lactose intolerance digest lactose more effectively. These supplements contain lactase enzyme that can break down lactose before it reaches the large intestine, where it can cause digestive symptoms.


Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is derived from milk. It is composed of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose, that are chemically linked together. The structure of lactose is represented as:

Glucose + Galactose → Lactose

Glucose is a monosaccharide sugar with a chemical formula of C6H12O6. It is a six-carbon sugar that is a primary source of energy for the body.

Galactose is a monosaccharide sugar with a chemical formula of C6H12O6. It is a six-carbon sugar that is commonly found in dairy products and is also a source of energy for the body.

Lactose is formed by the linkage of glucose and galactose through a glycosidic bond, creating a 12-carbon chain sugar. The chemical formula for lactose is C12H22O11. When lactose is consumed, it is broken down by the enzyme lactase into glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream and used for energy by the body.

Lactose is found in many dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, and is often used as a sweetener in a variety of processed foods, including baked goods, candy, and sweetened dairy products. It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as a filler and excipient in certain medications.