Learning what items do and don’t contain dairy did not come easy for me. As rashes came and went, I slowly discovered what is and is not a dairy product. I remember going to the health food store to buy the slimy Tofutti Cheese slices and Soy Dream Ice Cream (which contained “whey,” by the way). As I was checking out, the attendant said, “You know, we also carry dairy-free margarine if you’re interested.” What!?! Margarine has milk? I purchased the soy margarine and then went home to do more research. I found out that in addition to non-fat milk, butter, lactose, and the regular cheeses, the following ingredients also contain dairy products: (Brace yourself!)

Dairy Ingredients and Hidden Dairy Products:

Artificial butter flavor, Butter, Butter fat, Buttermilk, Butter oil, Casein, Caseinates (ammonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, Cheese, Cottage cheese, Cream, Curds, Custard, Ghee, Goat’s milk, Half & half, Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, why protein), Kefir, Koumiss, Lactalbumin, Lactalbumin phosphate, Lactoglobulin, Lactose, Lactulose, Milk (condensed, derivative, powder, dry, evaporated, low fat, malted, non fat, protein, skim, solids, whole), Milkfat, Nougat, Paneer, Pudding, Rennet casein, Sour Cream, Sour cream solids, Sour milk solids, Whey (in any form including delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate, sweet), Yogurt

Ingredients that MAY contain milk protein:

Chocolate, Flavorings (natural or artificial), High protein flour, Hot Dogs, Luncheon Meat, Margarine, Simplesse, Sausage, Starter Distillate.
Avoid “deli” meats, because the slicers frequently are used to cut both meat and cheese products. Also, some deli meats contain dairy products.
Kosher labeling: A product label marked Parve or Pareve is certified dairy-free. A product with a circled “U” on the label (with NO other symbols or letters) is Parve. A “D” or “DE” on a product label next to a circled “K” or circled “U” may indicate the presence of milk protein.
(ingredient information taken from www.kellymom.com)

To my amazement, all of my margarine at home contained “whey.” No wonder my son’s eczema rash was still so prevalent that he scratched it until it bled! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me? So, the Health Food Store became our new best friend, and I’m sure that we kept it in business for quite sometime. The soy margarine smelled like burnt popcorn, and the flavor was only so so. We purchased two separate margarines because of the taste until we discovered Earth Balance Margarine. We are now all convereted and not only do we enjoy a yummy buttery taste as a family, we also get to live without any Trans Fat! It bakes just like butter and is so yummy! With the exception of my pocket book, this was a happy day when I discovered it.

Here is a link to understanding a little bit more about Kosher labeling:

23 Comments on Dairy-free Margarine and a complete list of dairy products

  1. Wow, I had no idea how many ingredients contain milk. I’ve never even heard of most of those. It’s easy to take for granted what we eat. Scary how milk can be so dangerous to some people.

    I think what you’ve written and what you’re doing for others who struggle with similar allergies is just so wonderful. Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge. I’m sure it will help many! Even people without allergies can benefit and become more aware of what’s out there. God Bless!


  2. I have a 7-year-old milk allergic daughter. I can appreciate your frustration with a lack of information in the beginning. Hannah exhibited signs and symptoms while she was still exclusively breastfed but between my internet research and our doctor we (…or I should say I) couldn’t figure it out until she finally had an anaphylactic reaction when I fed her a teeny bite of cottage cheese at 9 months.

    We love Earth Balance too!!!

  3. My 3 year old son is allergic to both soy and milk and i am having a hard time finding a butter or margarine without eather PLEASE HELP!!

    Thank you

  4. Michelle,

    My sister also has children who are allergic to dairy and soy. Here is some help on butters, however, I have never tested them myself:)

    Just FYI…

    “Fleishmann’s Light” has no dairy and soy and sometimes is sold at Safeway, but it is hard to find.

    The Kosher For Passover version of Mother’s Margarine (and Migdal brand) are soy and dairy free (you can buy it at a kosher deli or at http://www.kosher.com This website also sells Fleishmann’s Light.)

    I also found out this information here about chocolate: http://ourgaggleofgirls.com/recipes/2008/01/

    “Chocolate is another one thats difficult if you’re soy-free. Most chocolate has soy lecithen, which is like soy oil – safe for some and unsafe for others. The EnjoyLife chocolate chips are soy-free, and most health food shops stock them – including Gluten-Free Mall ( http://www.glutenfreemall.com/catalog/index.php?ref=235&affiliate_banner_id=2 ) online. This is another area where Kosher for Passover comes in handy – if you live in an area with Kosher grocery stores, you can get soy-free chocolate during the Passover season. Chocolate Emporium has lovely Dairy Free and Soy Free (and Gluten-free) treats near Passover – usually their treats have soy lecithen, but they are soy-free during Passover for religious reasons.”

    Expensive, but soy-free choclate chips: http://www.glutenfreemall.com/catalog/enjoy-life-foods-semisweet-glutenfree-chocolate-chips-bulk-size-p-360.html

  5. I have read conflicting information about Caramel Color. One website said, “Caramel Color****(MAY indicate the presence of milk protein) The problem with caramel color is it may or may not contain gluten or dairy (or corn) depending on how it is manufactured. ”

    Another website said, “Do Caramel Colors contain allergens such as peanuts, gluten, dairy, seafood, or soy?
    No, those ingredients are not allowed in Caramel Colors manufacturing. However, some Caramel Color may contain traces of sulfites (see Do Caramel Colors contain sulfites?)


    I guess it depends upon who manufactured it.

    Here is another resource for a complete list of hidden dairy ingredients:


  6. The Book “Food Allergies for Dummies” By Dr. Robert Wood is an excellent resource for people with food allergies. It has this kind of info as well. VERY handy!

  7. The biggest challenge I've had of late is that it seems a lot of formerly completely dairy free products are adding it back in in response to the transfat panic…

  8. That's so frustrating! Even when we're extremely careful, sometimes dairy still shows up in foods that were always once safe. We sometimes permit our oldest son to eat something that has been manufactured in a facility with milk products. That said, his legs are now covered in a eczema rash again. I feel almost certain it is because of our lenience. It requires constant vigilance as well as faith that everything will be okay. I feel lucky that we haven't had an ER visit in MANY years.

  9. For soy and dairy free margarine you should by Earth Balance Soy Free. They took their 'normal' margarine and removed the soy.
    I hope this helps all our soy and milk allergy friends reading this blog.

  10. Thanks for the Earth Balance tip. We use the soy-free and dairy-free Earth Balance for spreading and sauteing, and it tastes delicious. Our Walmart carries it, so that is a plus! We also use the Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine for baking cookies. It is dairy-free. It has Soy Lecithin, but it hasn't seemed to be a problem with my soy allergy. Thanks again for the tip!

  11. Thanks so much for this info! We're starting our son on a dairy free diet today and I needed to know what type of margarine to look for. 🙂 He has Asperger's and we're going to try the GFCF diet, starting with eliminating all dairy, then after 2 weeks eliminating gluten.

  12. Thank you, Juventa, for sharing all this important information.

    My husband just started a dairy-free diet due to a blood test showing an allergy to Casein, milk protein.

  13. I was shocked and so dissapointed to buy soy cheese at Trader Joe's, for my milk allergy son (4 years old,) and after eating it and developing a rash, realized that has casein (milk protein). I guess next time I'll be reading the label and stop assuming…

  14. Hey Thank you so much for all your help. By the way, dairy products also cause acne on a lot of people like me. I brake out thanks to dairy therefore I had to cut it off my diet and it helped soooo much. I had a hard time finding a good substitute for margarine though and your article was great!

  15. With havin so much content do you ever rrun into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?

    My bpog has a lot oof unmique content I’ve either
    created mytself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of iit is popping it
    up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any methods
    to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • I’m no expert at this. I know you can set up Google Alerts to notify you if your website is being mentioned. You can even set up an alert for specific ingredients or phrases to see if they are copied. You can also export your photos with all of their metadata incorporated into them (I use Lightroom) which would help with copy right issues. That said, I know if you find your stuff stolen, it would be good to leave a comment or send a request asking that they point back to your website. Other than that, I’m not sure what else can be done. I’m sorry to hear your stuff has been stolen. Good luck!

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