Go Dairy Free

Go Dairy Free on pinterest  Go Dairy Free on Google Plus  Go Dairy Free on facebook  Go Dairy Free on twitter  Go Dairy Free rss feed  Go Dairy Free on FeedBurner

What’’s the Difference Between Casein-Free and Dairy-Free?

Posted on by Alisa Fleming in Ask Alisa, Nutrition Headlines with 2 Comments
Pin It
Ghee labeled as casein-freeQ: Anita – My son has an allergy to casein. I am trying to find foods that he can eat, but the labels are a bit confusing. If a product is labeled as dairy-free, is it safe for him, or does it need to be casein-free specifically?

A: Alisa – The most important thing is to read the ingredients. Labels can be misleading, so always check the ingredient list for the potential allergen. Also, if your son’s allergy is severe, and potential cross-contamination is a concern, contact the company to confirm ingredients and manufacturing processes prior to consumption, even if it appears to be dairy-ingredient-free and even if it is labeled as “dairy-free” or “casein-free.”

But in direct response to your question on the labeling, the term dairy-free indicates that there are no dairy ingredients (see this article where I address the terms ‘non-dairy’ vs ‘dairy-free’), this would include lactose, casein, whey, etc.

Casein is a type of protein within milk. In other words, it is a component of dairy foods. Thus, a product can actually be casein-free, but contain another dairy “component” such as lactose or even dairy fat. Ghee for example is often labeled as casein-free. It is dairy butter, essentially. But it has been purified to, in theory, extract all of the proteins, leaving just pure butter fat. It is still a dairy product, but according to some manufacturers, it no longer contains casein. Whether or not such a food is safe for your son is something you should discuss with his physician as traces of the milk protein could still remain.

Manufacturers egg on the confusion by putting both “dairy-free” and “casein-free” on a single package. I hate that they do this as it implies that a dairy-free product may not be casein-free. In general (but as mentioned, always verify the ingredients!), dairy-free = casein-free but casein-free ≠ dairy-free.

 

Alisa Fleming is the founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. In addition to her own dairy-free lifestyle, Alisa has experience in catering to the needs of various special diets, including gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan, and multiple food allergies.

Need Go Dairy Free now? Order the E-Book for immediate delivery or download it to your Kindle

Print Friendly
Go Dairy Free Cookbook - Dairy-Free Recipes, Guide and More
If you liked this post, please share it …
Pin It

About Alisa Fleming

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry. Follow me on Google+.

View all posts by Alisa Fleming →

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living

2 Comments

  1. girlMarch 11, 2014 at 7:04 pmReply

    This isn’t right — I have seen products labeled dairy-free but which still contain casein.

    • Alisa FlemingMarch 12, 2014 at 7:40 pmReplyAuthor

      There are products labeled as “non-dairy” that contain casein – legally they are allowed to have up to .5% dairy in them with the non-dairy label, but have never seen a dairy-free product with casein. This would actually require an allergen alert and possibly a recall. Could you specify what products are incorrectly labeled this way? They should be notified immediately.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*