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List of Dairy-Free Foods

author image Grace Ibay
Grace Ibay has been a freelance writer and blogger since 2005, specializing in the medical sciences and health care. She worked at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health as a research associate and has been published in various scientific journals. Ibay holds a master's degree in health science from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
List of Dairy-Free Foods
A vegan burrito on a plate. Photo Credit: manukaphoto/iStock/Getty Images

You may benefit from a list of dairy-free foods if you have a milk allergy, lactose intolerance or a casein-free or vegan lifestyle. Dairy-free products essentially do not contain any milk protein in their ingredients. If you or a dependent has a milk allergy, it is very important to read food labels carefully every time you shop, since manufacturers can change their ingredients to contain milk. In addition, food labeled “dairy-free” can still contain allergy-causing milk proteins, according to Food Allergy Research and Eduction.

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Dairy-free Foods

A woman shops fro groceries at a market.
A woman shops fro groceries at a market. Photo Credit: danr13/iStock/Getty Images

There are many foods that are not made from milk or do not have milk ingredients. In general, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats, beans, shellfish and fish are all dairy-free. Some processed meats such as deli sausages and kielbasa may have dairy, so check the labels carefully. Soy milk, rice milk, juices, soda, hydrolyzed infant formula, black coffee, wine and pure tea are some types of drinks that do not contain milk.

Dairy Alternatives

A woman holds a carton of soy milk.
A woman holds a carton of soy milk. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Butter, cheese, margarine, ice cream, yogurt, cream and curds are all products made from processing milk. These days, though, there are plenty of dairy products in the market that have dairy-free versions. Start with vegan or soy-based butter, cheese, ice creams and yogurt. Some soy cheeses may contain milk products so read the product labels. Rice-based puddings, frozen juice pops, milk-free sorbet and milk-free chocolates are dairy-free treats you can enjoy.

Cereal, Breads and Baked Goods

Bread on display at a bakery.
Bread on display at a bakery. Photo Credit: Darko Novakovic/iStock/Getty Images

For breakfast, cereals containing toasted oats, rice or corn, as well as oatmeal, do not generally contain milk products, however some brands mix their cereals with milk ingredients so check the labels. Some bakeries bake bread, buns, rolls, pretzels, bagels and tortillas without milk, while others do. Most dry noodles and pasta are also milk-free. Most baked goods and mixes for cakes, cookies, brownies, frosting and glazes have milk ingredients, but there are some brands that are dairy-free.

Avoiding Dairy Ingredients

Some products may have the word “milk” in their ingredient list, while others do not list it explicitly, so it is important to be familiar with terms that may indicate the presence of dairy. Other terms for milk ingredients include whey, casein or caseinate, words with “lacto” or “lacta”, natural butter flavor, nougat, Recaldent, caramel, custard and curds, notes Go Dairy Free. Coconut butter or cream, milk thistle, shea butter, nut butter, cream of tartar are ingredients that are not made from dairy but do contain the words “butter” or “milk”. The FDA requires that the eight top allergens be noted on product labels if that allergen is contained in the food. At the end of the list of ingredients on a food label you will see "Contains," and then after it you will see any of the eight possible allergens. Since milk is one of the top eight, you can scan to the bottom of the label and if it says "Contains: Milk," then you know the product contains dairy.

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