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Products Labeled "non-dairy"

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I have spun this off from the topic on substitution for evaporated milk in a pumpkin pie. A poster suggested a "non-dairy" product which was suitable for whipping cream, but which contained casein. Well, we have a large dairy conglomerate here that ships "powdered milk" all over the world, and that powdered "milk" consists of casein, so I wondered how a product could be labeled "non-dairy" and contain casein. A google search which brought up a vegetarian site revealed that "the inspectors" required any product that did not contain "milk" -- apparently by this they meant "lactose" had to be labelled "non-dairy" so as 'not to confuse the consumer' who was anticipating there to be milk in a dairy product.

"2006/02/20: Evidently the dairy inspectors require

that milk-similar items without milk (but with casein!) are labelled

as non-dairy to avoid confusing the consumer! They're worried about

the consumer who is hoping to get milk product and doesn't - and

those of us with allergies are screwed.

http://daveola.com/Vegetarian/Casein/ "

My husband and I were discussing this at dinner, and I wondered about non-dairy coffee creamers, and if the same situation existed. Sure enough, a search for Coffee Mate produced the following in the ingredients:

"Sodium caseinate (derived from milk)**

**not a source of lactose"

So for anyone avoiding dairy by using non-dairy coffee creamer, guess what?? You are consuming dairy. It's all right if you are lactose intolerant only, but tough luck if you are casein intolerant. This is blatant false labeling in my book. The dairy industry must be a very powerful lobby.

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Sadly, this is true. People also tend to think that we can use things like Egg Beaters if we are allergic to eggs. Nope. They are in fact eggs.

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Part of the reason for this is that a true casein allergy is (relatively) rare. There isn't a whole lot of mainstream acceptance for random food intolerances (IgG mediated), so a non-allergic casein intolerance isn't really on the radar yet. Lactose intolerance, however, is quite common - particularly among certain ethnic backgrounds. (Ok, actually, it's the other way 'round - lactose intolerance is the general (world-wide) rule, but lactose tolerance only developed (it's an evolutionary thing) in a few geographic locations). So, it far more common for people to concern themselves only with lactose when it comes to "milk". Not the only place the collective "we" tends to have blinders on. ;)

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