Where is cow's milk found?
Cow's milk proteins are found in a host of foods, including unexpected locations such as canned tuna, sausage, and meats (which can contain milk protein), along with beverage mixes, energy drinks, and chewing gum.5 So check all food labels for milk, and maintain a wary eye for the following, which may indicate the presence of milk protein:3,9 artificial butter flavor, butter, butter fat, buttermilk solids, caramel color, caramel flavoring, casein, caseinate, cheese, cream, curds, demineralized whey, de-lactosed whey, flavoring and natural flavoring, fully cream milk powder, galactose, ghee, high protein flavor/flour, lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactic acid, lactic acid starter culture, lactosen, rennet casein, rice cheese, solids, sour cream, sour milk solids, whey, whey powder, whey protein, and yogurt.
Additional foods that may contain milk protein include:9 batter-fried foods, biscuits, bread, breakfast cereals, cakes, chocolate, cookies, cream sauces, cream soups, custard, fish in batter, gravies and gravy mixes, ice cream, imitation sour cream, instant mashed potatoes, margarine, muesli, muffins, nonmilk fat, packaged soups, pies, puddings, rusks (biscuits), sausages, sherbet, soy cheese, soup, sweets, and vegetarian cheese.
Plus, myriad "milk" terms can be used on food labels to indicate the presence of milk protein, all of which should be avoided if you're allergic to milk.3 A few examples include:3,9 acidophilus milk, buttermilk, condensed milk, dried milk, dry milk solids, evaporated milk, lactose free milk, malted milk, milk derivate, milk powder, milk protein, milk solid, nonfat milk, pasteurized milk, skim milk, sour milk, and sweetened condensed milk.
Ingesting milk causes the most severe reactions, but both touching and inhaling it can evoke symptoms in some individuals.6 In fact, those highly allergic to milk can react to minute quantities of milk protein and may even elicit symptoms after inhaling milk powder.9
Also note that in the United States and perhaps elsewhere, products labeled as "lactose free," "nondairy," and "kosher" may still contain milk protein.3 Plus, mothers can transmit cow's milk protein via breastfeeding. Thus, those who breastfeed milk allergic infants should refrain from consuming all forms of milk.4