Check out our Milk Allergy Avoidance List to get a full comprehensive dairy products list and see which dairy foods to avoid.
There are lots of reasons to want to know sources of dairy. But finding a dairy products list isn’t always easy.
For some, you may have an extreme allergic reaction to milk, while others may be vegan. Maybe you are lactose intolerant, breastfeeding, or you have a condition like eczema and you’ve heard that giving up dairy may help.
No matter the reason that you may have decided to cut dairy out of your diet, you need to know what products contain dairy.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just saying, avoid anything with milk. Although that would be nice, it’s just simply not that easy.
Not only are there multiple widely known dairy foods, but there are a host of hidden sources of dairy.
Some are common and easily identifiable, while others are not.
WHAT DOES DAIRY FREE MEAN?
When you are on a dairy free diet it means that you do not consume dairy products of any kind.
Dairy refers specifically to cow’s milk products.
Some people consume other animals’ milks, like goats, for example; however, for labeling purposes, a dairy free diet only refers to cow’s milk.
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WHAT ARE SOURCES OF DAIRY?
Obviously if you are going dairy free, you want to know what products you need to avoid.
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly easy as there are a lot of hidden dairy ingredients.
However, some of the most well-known foods on the dairy products list include:
- cream (heavy cream, sour cream, etc)
- ice cream
If you see these labeled in any way, they are known dairy products and should be avoided.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A PRODUCT HAS DAIRY OR HIDDEN DAIRY?
READ LABELS. READ LABELS. READ LABELS.
One cannot emphasize the importance of reading labels enough when on a dairy free diet.
Due to current US federal FDA laws, items are required to be labeled as containing milk clearly.
What that means is that either in the ingredients list or using “Contains: Milk” after the list of ingredients, it must clearly identify dairy.
If you have a severe milk allergy, you want to also note things labeled as “may contain”. This means that it’s processed in a facility that also produces milk products and cross-contamination may happen and you will want to avoid those products as well.
*One important thing to note here is that there is currently no requirement for companies to list “may contain”.
There are products that do not fall under the FDA allergen labeling laws, and because so, are not going to be labeled as such.
Many people assume they can give up the common sources of dairy like milk and cheese and everything else will be okay. However, that’s simply not the case.
Milk and milk-based products are added into everything from granola bars to mayonnaise, non-dairy coffee creamers and margarine. Some of the most surprising foods on the dairy products list that have milk that may be shocking include:
- hot dogs
- chicken nuggets
- tomato sauces
- potato chips
- Vinaigrette dressing
- fish sticks
- chicken broth
- chewing gum
This is truly why it’s so important to read labels.
Even more important, is to read labels every single time you repurchase something. Unfortunately, brands often change their recipes for products and may add different ingredients. So something that may have once been dairy free may not be dairy free any longer.
Does lactose free mean dairy free?
No. It only means that there is no lactose in it. It could still contain casein or whey that should also be avoided on a dairy free diet. This is for people that know they only react to lactose.
Does non-dairy mean dairy freei
No. This is a common occurrence that seems to be popping up more and more.
Companies are labeling products, such as creamers and alternative cheeses, like almond cheese or soy cheese, as non-dairy, when in fact they still contain whey or another dairy ingredient.
Again it’s why it is so important to read labels.
Why do I need to check my medicines?
This may come as a shock to some, but you actually should double check all your medicines. Some medicines add whey or lactose to them and due to that are not dairy free medicines.
You can speak with your pharmacist who should be able to aid in the process of seeing if your particular medications do contain dairy and if so what are some alternatives for you.
You’ll also wants to check your cosmetics, personal care, and pet food for sources of dairy, especially if dealing with a milk allergy. We have seen dairy in toothpaste before, especially whitening ones.
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How can pareve labels help me?
In the most basic of definitions, kosher foods are those prepared according to Jewish laws. There are certain ways that meat and dairy products must be handled in order to be kosher for Jewish consumption.
However, even if you are not Jewish, you can benefit from their food requirements.
Pareve or Parve, refers to foods that contain neither meat or dairy. That means that any food labeled Pareve is dairy free.
In order to know if something is Pareve, you can look for the symbol K or a circle with a K inside followed by the word Pareve. If there is a D or DE beside the K, then that item contains dairy.
It’s important to note that fish is considered Pareve in Jewish law, so if you are vegan, you’ll want to still look at the label for that.
Milk Allergy Avoidance List
So what are all the dairy products list? Brace yourself, but it’s a pretty long list.
We’ve put all the dairy ingredients in alphabetical order for each section. To the best of our knowledge these products contain or may contain milk, whether known or as hidden dairy products.
This list is not intended as medical advice and should not be treated as such. Please consult with a doctor if you have a dietary condition requiring you to be dairy free.
In any event, we hope this list help your dairy free diet.
Definitely Dairy Products List
Anhydrous Milk Fat
Artificial Butter Flavor
Butter Flavored Oil
Cheese (all types)
Cheese Flavor (artificial and natural)
Dairy Product Solids
Dry Milk Powder
Dry Milk Solids (DMS)
Fat Free Milk
Fully Cream Milk Powder
Half & Half
Imitation Sour Cream
Lactose Free Milk
Low Fat Milk
Milk Protein Hydrolysates
Milk Solid Pastes
Natural Butter Flavor
Nonfat Dry Milk
Nonfat Milk Solids
Reduced Mineral Whey
Sheep Milk Cheese
Skim Milk Powder
Sour Cream Solids
Sour Milk Solids
Sweet Cream Buttermilk Powder
Sweet Dairy Whey
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk
Vegetarian Cheese with Casein
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Hydrolysates
Yogurt (regular or frozen)
May Be Dairy Products List
High Protein Flour
Surprising Foods that should always be Dairy Free
Cream of Tartar
Fruit Butters (Apple, Pumpkin, etc)
As always, you should absolutely check every single label before purchasing a product. This list is just a starting point and should not be taken as a replacement for medical advise.
If you have any specific questions about any products or ingredients, please consult with your primary care physician .
What are resources that could help me?
We know that going dairy free can be really hard in the beginning until you get used to what to do. Luckily, in addition to this dairy products list, we have some resources that can help you.
- 10 Tips for Going Dairy Free
- Dairy Free Candy Guide
- Dairy Free Fast Food Guide
- Best Dairy Free Yogurt
- Which Dairy Free Cheese Tastes Best?
- Best Sliced Dairy Free cheese for Grilled Cheese
- Dairy Free Substitutes
- Plant Based Calcium Sources
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This post was original published on 10/31/2018 and updated on 1/16/2020.