Understanding food labels

Nutrition labels can help you keep a check on the amount of food you and your baby is eating. These are very helpful when monitoring your and your baby’s sugar, salt and fat intake.

To find out more about food labels, including what terms such as "light/lite" and "low fat" mean, and the difference between "use by" and "best before", refer to: Food labelling terms

If you have any concerns, please discuss these with your
healthcare professional.

Ingredients to avoid for your cow’s milk allergy

If your baby has cow’s milk allergy, they should be seen by a healthcare professional to ensure their diet provides all the nutrients they need for growth and development in the absence of cow’s milk.

Your healthcare professional may advise you to restrict all foods and drinks containing cow’s milk from your baby’s diet. Remember that it may be present in many foods – not just the obvious ones. Food labels that list any of the ingredients below contain cow’s milk:1

  • Casein
  • Caseinates
  • Hydrolysed casein
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Milk solids
  • Non-fat milk
  • Whey
  • Whey syrup sweetener
  • Milk sugar solids

By law if a manufactured, prepackaged food is for sale in the EU and contains any of the above sources of cow’s milk, it should state this clearly on the packaging. However, some foods such as loose bakery and delicatessen items are currently exempt from these food labeling laws1 and could sometimes be cross contaminated with milk from other products. This is set to change in 2014 when new labeling regulations become mandatory.1

The following are examples of foods which may contain milk:2

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Soups
  • Baby foods
  • Processed meats e.g. sausages
  • Pasta and pizzas
  • Instant mashed potato
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Baked goods e.g. rolls
  • Ready-made meals
  • Puddings and custards
  • Cakes, biscuits, crackers
  • Chocolate / confectionery
  • Crisps
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Yoghurt
  • Cream
  • Ice-cream
  • All types of cheeses
  • Milk drinks
  • Milk powder and milk

Note: This list includes just some of the foods to be avoided
in a milk-free diet.

If you have any concerns, please discuss these with your healthcare professional.


  1. Allergy UK, 2012: http://www.allergyuk.org/common-food-intolerances/dairy-intolerance Accessed 14th August 2013.
  2. Allergy UK, 2012: http://www.allergyuk.org/milk-allergy/milk-allergy/ Accessed 14th August 2013.

Alternatives to dairy

Alternatives to dairy

  • Dairy-free margarines
  • Oat cream – which is energy dense and can be used in cooking or to enrich the nutrient density of oat milk
  • Vegan cheese – a soya alternative
  • Yoghurts and healthy desserts made from pea protein
  • Soya yoghurt, cream and desserts
  • Coconut milk and coconut cream
  • Tofu

If you have any concerns, please discuss these with your healthcare professional.

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RXANI140098 Date of preparation: March 2014