ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Beware: Your favourite dairy substitutes may contain milk

Consumers have been urged to carefully read the labels on dairy substitutes to ensure they don't contain any unexpected addictives.

People who are lactose intolerant and vegan rely on dairy substitutes such as almond milk, rice milk and soy milk.

Read: Restaurants can be held liable if they don't disclose food allergens on menus

However, consumer journalist Wendy Knowler has warned that milk replacements can be misleading about their contents.

Whatever your reason for choosing a dairy substitute is, do read the label very carefully before weighing up if the product is the right choice for you.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Capetonian Dr Tracey Garner bought an almond milk powder from a natural health foods company a few months ago for her two-year-old daughter who is allergic to cow's milk.

She says it was labelled as almond milk powder, naturally lactose-free and soya-free.

Sadly, her daughter fell ill on the third day of using the milk, which was discovered had contained cow's milk protein.

My daughter is allergic to casein, which is a protein in cow's milk and so I use almond milk for her.

Dr Tracey Garner, a medical doctor from Paarl

My daughter was extremely ill... She had cramps and severe constipation which is the complication when she has casein.

Dr Tracey Garner, a medical doctor from Paarl

It's misleading to market something as almond milk powder when it actually contains cow's milk protein.

Dr Tracey Garner, a medical doctor from Paarl

Allergen specialist Dr Harris Steinman explains that some imitation dairy products which he has tested in the past contain cows milk protein.

These products are not clearly marked and often produced by manufacturers with little awareness of food science.

There are good manufacturers around and then there are people who might have inadequate knowledge.

Dr Harris Steinman, medical doctor with special interest in consumer issues

It's important to always be alert. If you do react to one of these imitation milks, consider that maybe the label is not adequate.

Dr Harris Steinman, medical doctor with special interest in consumer issues

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion on The Pippa Hudson Show:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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