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Monday, February 16, 2009

Are Natural Flavors Milk?

Here's a question I used to get much more frequently before the labeling laws got changed in 2006. It's one that probably still puzzles a lot of people though.

If an ingredient list for popcorn, specifically Pop Secret homestyle popcorn, contains "natural and artificial flavor" is it possible that those unidentified "flavors" contain dairy? If so, aren't there laws against non-disclosure of allergy information?

I responded:
It's possible, but as you suspect it would be illegal under current labeling laws. If milk is present in any ingredient, the ingredients list must say so and an additional warning of the presence of milk, or any other of the eight major allergens, must be attached.

So I doubt if any manufacturer today uses milk in its generic ingredients. In addition, the amount of lactose that would be present even if the label said milk would be so small that it's highly unlikely to affect you.

The question came from someone who suspected an LI reaction, so that's how I answered it. The small amount of unlabeled dairy might be enough to trigger an allergic reaction in someone very sensitive, though. The possibility of allergic reactions to hidden ingredients is exactly what triggered the change in the labeling laws. While still not perfect, they are far better in the U.S. than they have ever been in the past.

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1 comment:

Kelly said...

Thank you so much for answering this question! I have been wondering this myself as I have heard that natural flavors can contain milk. Thank god we live in america with such laws!!!