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Labels: Do you have milk or not?

For those who follow a dairy-free diet, whether due to an allergy to cow's milk protein (CMPA), lactose intolerance or a vegan diet, any label that has ingredients and additives with names that resemble milk or dairy products is cause for suspicion.

In this article, we help you to understand if foods with some of these ingredients are safe or not, where doubts are common, from additives with “lacto” in the name to foods with names like “milk” and “butter” (ex. cocoa beans) but which do not always mean that they contain animal milk.

Additives E270 Lactic Acid and E325-7 Lactates – DOES NOT CONTAIN MILK OR DERIVATIVES:

They are substances produced from the fermentation of sugars, they are not extracted from milk. All fermented products (dairy and non-dairy) contain lactic acid as a result of bacterial fermentation, carried out by lactic acid bacteria. In turn, lactates are products derived from lactic acid.

Commercially, these additives are usually vegan, as they are prepared from vegetable sources of sugar such as corn, potato, cane molasses or beetroot, and are therefore free from milk and dairy products.

Dairy yeasts and probiotics – WE MUST CONFIRM ON THE LABEL:

Dairy ferments and probiotics, such as lactobacilli ( Lactobacillus ) and bifidobacteria ( Bifidobacterium ), are bacteria that break down sugars through fermentation and produce lactic acid. These microorganisms alone do not contain milk. However, commercially, we can find both vegan dairy starters, grown on plant-based sources of sugar, and non-vegan, grown on lactose (milk sugar).

So how can we distinguish them and know whether or not a product is safe?

In accordance with European food labeling legislation, when an ingredient or processing aid in a food is derived from a substance considered to be an allergen, the labeling must clearly indicate its presence, highlighting it through a different color, larger letters or in bold. for example.

In practice, if on the labeling any of these ingredients is highlighted or there is a mention “contains milk” or “may contain milk”, it means that the food is not safe. If on a label all the allergens are properly highlighted, but these ingredients are not highlighted, for example, in a fermented soy drink such as yogurt, soy is highlighted as an allergen, but the lactobacilli are not highlighted and there is no reference to the presence of traces of milk, we can understand that the product does not contain milk or dairy products.

Other foods and ingredients that may raise questions, but are not milk or dairy products:

Coconut milk, cocoa butter, peanut butter, butter beans, butternut squash, fig cheese, are examples of foods that are named after dairy products, but in reality they only have that name because they somehow resemble in their color, appearance or dairy texture. In their origin they are milk-free, however, we must confirm on the label if there are traces or other ingredients that may contain milk, as described above.

In Fidu products you will not find any milk-derived ingredient, nor any traces. All our products are 100% vegan, safe for both CMPA and Lactose Intolerance. We strictly control our raw material and in our factory we do not handle any foods that contain milk or dairy products, in this way we can guarantee the total absence of cross-contamination and traces.


Bibliographical sources:

1. Food-Info. “Which E-numbers and additives are from animal origin?” at https://www.food-info.net/uk/qa/qa-fi45.htm

2. McFarland, T. (2019). “Is Lactic Acid Vegan? What About Sodium Lactate? at https://www.iamgoingvegan.com/

3. Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 of 25 October 2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union.