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Casein Allergy: What Is It?

 Posted on August 22, 2023 in Uncategorized


Does eating pizza or drinking a glass of milk cause your lips to swell up and rashes to appear all over your body? There’s a high chance that you might be suffering from casein allergy. Casein, a protein commonly found in milk and dairy products, can trigger an allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening if not treated on time. This happens when your immune system mistakenly identifies the milk protein as a threat and tries to fight it.

Although there is a common misconception wherein casein allergy is often incorrectly identified as lactose intolerance, it is imperative to recognize that these two conditions are fundamentally distinct. Approximately 80% of the protein content within milk is attributed to casein, a component that also contributes to the characteristic white hue of milk. In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, and prevention of casein allergy.

Casein Allergy Causes

Casein allergy is the immune system’s response to the protein casein found in dairy products and milk. When an individual's immune system misidentifies casein as harmful, it launches an attack by releasing histamines and other chemicals, leading to allergic reactions.

While the real cause of casein allergy is still unknown, researchers believe that breastfed infants are less likely to suffer from the condition. In most cases, an individual will outgrow casein allergy when they turn 3 or 5 years old.

Casein is usually found in all types of milk, yogurt, butter, ghee, margarine, cheese, cream, custard, pudding, gelato, ice cream, cookies, and crackers. People who are at a higher risk of suffering from casein allergy include:

● Infants and young children.

● People with a family history of casein allergy.

● Individuals suffering from pet or pollen allergy.

Casein Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of casein allergy can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe. They typically occur within a few minutes to a couple of hours after consuming casein-containing products. Common symptoms include:

● Gastrointestinal Symptoms: These can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

● Respiratory Symptoms: Individuals might experience sneezing, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, and in severe cases, wheezing and shortness of breath.

● Skin Reactions: Skin reactions like hives, itching, eczema, or swelling (angioedema) can occur.

● Anaphylaxis: In rare cases, individuals can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, characterized by difficulty breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. This requires immediate medical attention.

Casein Allergy Diagnosis

If your child is showing symptoms of casein allergy, you should consult with a healthcare provider immediately. The doctor will ask you questions related to your family’s medical history and will conduct a physical examination. They will then ask you to get a stool test, blood test, or skin prick allergy test for an accurate diagnosis.

While performing a skin-prick test, the healthcare provider will inject a small amount of milk protein or milk into your back or forearm. The doctor will wait for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the milk protein to enter your bloodstream and see if you develop any rashes.

Casein Allergy Prevention

While casein allergy cannot be cured, its symptoms can be managed through avoidance and proper preparation:

● Read Labels: Carefully read ingredient labels on food products to avoid casein-containing items. According to Kosher labeling laws, products with a circled U or K or word parve or pareve contain milk or by-products of milk.

● Dietary Choices: Opt for dairy-free alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk, and look for casein-free substitutes for cheese and other dairy products. Note that processed meats such as luncheon, deli meats, sausages, and hot dogs might also contain milk.

● Restaurant Awareness: When dining out, communicate your allergy to the server and chef to ensure your meal is prepared without casein-containing ingredients.

● Educate Others: Inform family members, friends, and caregivers about your casein allergy to prevent accidental exposure.

● Medical Alert: Wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a card indicating your casein allergy, especially if you risk anaphylactic reactions.

Individuals with casein allergy should avoid consuming Italian and sorbet iced, rice, potato-based, and soy milks, coconut butter, soy ice creams, creamers, creams, soy-based products, and some soup brands. The table below shows edible products that people with casein allergy are allowed and not allowed to eat:


Not Allowed



● Rye, wheat, and white breads.

● French toast made using milk.

● Rusk, saltines, crackers, waffles, pancakes, muffins, donuts, and biscuits.

● Milk-free breads.

● French bread.

● Rice wafers or graham crackers.



● Milkshakes, eggnog, malts, and yogurts.

● Milk and all kinds of milk products – powdered, low-fat, whole, skim, buttermilk, and hot cocoa.

● Fruit juices.

● Tea.

● Coffee.

● Almond or soy-substitute milk.

● Water.

● Carbonated beverages.


● Margarine.

● Butter.

● Cream.

● Mayonnaise.

● Salad dressing.

● Kosher margarine.

● Milk-free Peanut butter.

● Vegetable oil.

Cheese, Poultry, Fish, and Meats

● Hamburgers, casseroles, croquettes, meatloaf, and breaded meats.

● Sausage products – hotdogs, frankfurters, and bologna.

● Cheese products.

● Roasted, baked, boiled, fried, or broiled fish, tofu, lamb, turkey, chicken, pork, veal, and beef.


Let Illinois Food Allergy Attorneys Fight for Your Rights!

Did you recently visit a restaurant, order your favorite meal, and clearly tell them that you had a casein allergy and still suffered a severe allergic reaction due to their negligence? Newland & Newland, LLP has got your back. Our team of seasoned legal professionals is dedicated to providing you with top-notch legal advice and solutions according to the unique needs of your case.

Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Libertyville, Itasca Crystal Lake, and Joliet residents get the justice and financial award they deserve. Remember that your food allergy lawsuit doesn’t only benefit you but others as well. Contact us to talk to an Illinois food allergy attorney today!

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