Advanced Allergy & Asthma Family Care

Milk Allergy


Milk Allergy (

Approximately 2.5% of children younger than 3 years of age are allergic to milk. Nearly all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life. Most children who have milk allergy will outgrow it in the first few years of life.



Fortunately, milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute in baking and cooking. It can be substituted, in equal amounts, with water or fruit juice. (For example, substitute 1 cup milk with 1 cup water.)

Some Hidden Sources of Milk

  • Deli meat slicers are frequently used for both meat and cheese products.
  • Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein.
  • Many non-dairy products contain casein (a milk derivative), listed on the ingredient labels.
  • Some meats may contain casein as a binder. Check all labels carefully.
  • Many restaurants put butter on steaks after they have been grilled to add extra flavor. The butter is not visible after it melts.

Commonly Asked Questions

Is goat milk a safe alternative to cow milk?

Goat's milk protein is similar to cow's milk protein and may, therefore, cause a reaction in milk-allergic individuals. It is not a safe alternative.

What formulas are recommended for children with milk allergy?

Extensively hydrolyzed, casein-based formulas are often recommended. These formulas contain protein that has been extensively broken down so it is different than milk protein and not as likely to cause an allergic reaction. Examples of casein-hydrolysate formulas are Alimentum® and Nutramigen®.
If the child is not allergic to soy, the doctor may recommend a soy-based formula.

When should a child stop using formula?

When to wean from a milk-free formula to a milk substitute (such as rice milk or soy milk) will vary depending on the child's current diet. A milk-free formula is an excellent source of necessary nutrients, so many doctors recommend continuing its use well past the age of one year for children on restricted diets due to food allergy. Discuss your options with your doctor or dietitian to be sure that the child’s nutritional requirements are all being met.

Do these ingredients contain milk?

We frequently receive calls about the following ingredients. They do
not contain milk protein and need not be restricted by someone avoiding milk:

  • Calcium lactate
  • Calcuium stearoyl lactylate
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lactic acid (however, lactic acid starter culture may contain milk)
  • Oleoresin
  • Sodium lactate
  • Sodium stearoyl lactylate













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