Milk levels in non-dairy ice cream products might be dangerous to sensitive people

In a recent study, a US-based research team found that one serving of some milk-alternative frozen dessert items might possibly cause an allergic reaction in extremely sensitive people.    

The researchers wanted to determine the possible danger for allergic people who consume milk-alternative ice cream items that may include milk accidentally. They analyzed the incidence of milk protein contamination in milk-alternative ice cream items marketed as frozen desserts in the United States and labeled as 'non-dairy,' 'dairy-free’, and/or ‘vegan,' as well as the possible danger to allergic people who ate these products. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent technique, 32 distinct milk-alternative frozen dessert items from 16 different brands were analyzed for milk proteins. Three of the examined items included milk protein: two had solid inclusions and one had none. One of the three items containing detectable milk protein contained a warning that it was prepared in a milk processing plant.    

Although there is no agreement on the minimum amount of milk protein required to cause an adverse reaction in a milk-sensitive person, the milk protein levels in one serving of each of the three products were above some of the published thresholds. According to the findings, a milk-allergic individual would be at danger of an allergic response if they ingested the whole dish.    

Moreover, milk protein is one of the top eight food allergens in the United States, as well as one of the leading causes of deadly or near-fatal food-induced anaphylactic reactions worldwide. Undeclared allergies in food items are the top cause of food recall requests from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with undeclared milk protein being the most often reported allergy.