Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Clearly a Case of Lactose Intolerance." Groan.

Who says judges don't have a sense of humor? Or does the credit/blame go to the columnist?

I don't know what to make John Goff's seriously deranged Good Week/Bad Week column over at But I'm going to quote a piece of it anyway.

In one of the most bizarre cases of corporate fraud in U.S. history — and that's saying something — the CEO and CFO of now-defunct cheese maker Suprema Specialties Inc. were indicted Monday on charges that they perpetuated a massive scam. The swindle? They didn't actually have any cheese at the cheese shop (cue bouzouki music). "Suprema was essentially an illusion as a business and a lie for investors," said U.S. Attorney Christopher "Chris" Christie at a press conference. "It was in business to provide a means for fraud. There's not even an SIC code for that."

According to reports, Mark Cocchiola, the 49-year-old founder of Suprema, and Steven Venechanos, the company's former chief financial officer, were charged in a 38-count federal court indictment. Charges include bank fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud, and ruminant fraud. In addition, at the arraignment on Wednesday, the two former executives both acknowledged that deep down, they feel like frauds. "We don't like cheese, or milk for that matter,' Venechanos told a judge. "We won't even sit at the same dinner table with a carton of milk." The judge later classified the fraud as a hate crime, telling defense attorneys "this is clearly a case of lactose intolerance."
The defendents were cowed by the judge. "I couldn't have herd him correctly," one of them later said. "He was milking it for the spectators," remarked a baliff. A court analyst pontificated, "No whey do they get a condensed sentence. It'll go sour for them. But that's what they get for skimming." Rimshot.

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Milk For the Lactose Intolerant?

You should know by now that even if you're lactose intolerant, yogurt is the dairy product that's for you. The live and active cultures that make yogurt yogurt help to digest the lactose that's in the milk. It's auto-digesting, as the tech types talk. And those bacteria will reproduce in your colon, driving out the bad bacteria that ferment lactose and cause the symptoms of gas, bloating, and flatulence that make lactose intolerance a misery.

But what if milk did that? Real, drinkable milk?

That's the theory behind Dannon's DanActive. Known for years in Europe as Actimel, DanActive is currently making the big rollout into American stores.

Okay, technically, DanActive isn't milk but a "cultured dairy drink." (In fact, when it was first test-marketed the company labeled it a dietary supplement. I like the change because as a dairy drink it gets regulated by the FDA and has to display the full set of nutrition information mandated by law.) It contains 10 times as many bacterial cultures as the best yogurt, using Lactobaccilis casei, Lactobacillis bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. These are lactic acid bacteria, similar to the ones traditionally used in yogurt and cheeses. DanActive also gets to claim all the benefits of probiotics, which are all the marketing rage.

Halfway between milk and yogurt drinks in texture, DanActive comes in blueberry, strawberry, vanilla, and plain.

So. Does it work? They say yes.

People who have difficulty digesting lactose may tolerate products that contain live and active cultures, such as DANACTIVE. The cultures begin breaking down the lactose while the product ferments and also while being digested. Because of this, dairy products with live and active cultures may be tolerated.

DanActive is being sold in Whole Food Market stores, among others. I don't have one near by and I haven't seen the product in any local stores.

UPDATE 2007: The DanActive Store locator shows that it is in supermarkets all over the country.

Interesting idea, though. If you try some, let me know what you think.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Non-Dairy Chocolates from Chocolate Renaissance

Chris Buhr let me know about her firm, Chocolate Renaissance.

Chris has an impressive resume. According to the site:

Chef Christine Buhr is a pastry chef with a mission. Classically trained at the International Culinary Arts Center under the tutelage of former White House Chef Albert Kumin, Chef Buhr successfully competed on the national scene as a Gold Medal winner with Felicitations of the Jury and First Prize in Chocolate Candies and Confections three years in a row at the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, the grande damme of culinary competitions in the United States. Held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in conjunction with the International Hotel and Restaurant Show, this competition attracts premiere chefs in every discipline.

The site features non-dairy chocolates for those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies or the other milk avoiders in our midsts. They're also certified kosher by the Va'ad ha Rabbonim of MA. (However, the candies are made in a facility which contains nuts and so trace cross-contamination may be possible.)

A variety of truffles and other chocolate candies are available, as are Ballotins, an assortment of truffles, fondant filled candies, giandujias (hazelnut praline), nut clusters and solid pieces.

Ordering is done through the web site, For more information, call 617-777-7056 or email them at

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

World Allergy Day

Happy World Allergy Day, everyone. Sorry I didn't get you a card.

The World Allergy Association has proclaimed July 8, 2005, as the first World Allergy Day. Although food allergies are not their prime concern, there's no reason not to take advantage of it for spreading awareness of those as well.

You can download a World Allergy Day Kit, whose materials include:

  • General Instructions
  • Sample Proclamation
  • Sample Media Advisory Information
  • Sample News Release
  • Sample Article for a Newsletter
  • Allergy and Allergic Asthma Information Statistical Sheet
  • National Data on Prevalence of Allergic Disease
  • World Allergy Organization Guidelines on the Prevention of Allergy and Allergic Asthma Materials:
  • Article
  • Patient Information Sheets
  • Power PointPresentation
  • Evaluation Form

The World Allergy Day site also has a great set of International Organization Links.

You can also fill in a form to receive their monthly e-letter, WAO News and Notes.

While having a capital "D" day is no more than a publicity opportunity, it makes for a great springboard to have every day be an allergy awareness day. Spread the word.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Finlandia Lactose-Free Cheese

The good people over at Valio Ltd. make lactose-free Finlandia Cheese, imported from Finland.

They even go so far as to explain their process:

The statement below explains the microbiological phenomenon that causes Finlandia Cheeses to be lactose free. Traces of lactose may be found in Havarti cheese, but levels are well below the limit accepted for a lactose-free claim.
    Finlandia Swiss cheese is manufactured from milk which is coagulated by heat and microbial rennet. After coagulation the cheese is fermented with a souring agent containing lactobacilli, Streptococcus thermophilus and propionic acid bacteria. Within 24 hours, these bacteria break down the lactose into galactose and glucose. These are fermented further to lactic acid. Lactic acid is then fermented to acetic acid, propionic acid and carbon dioxide so that Finlandia Swiss does not contain lactose or any other carbohydrates.

    Finlandia Muenster, Gouda and Havarti cheeses are manufactured from milk which is coagulated by heat and microbial rennet. After coagulation the cheeses are fermented with a souring agent containing lactococci and lactobacilli. Within 24 hours, these bacteria break down the lactose into galactose and glucose. These are fermented further to lactic acid. Therefore these Finlandia cheeses do not contain lactose or any other carbohydrates.

    There are no international regulations to determine "lactose free". Valio Ltd is using "lactose free"- claim, when lactose cannot be found in the product (f. ex. cheese). Valio is using the best possible method (ion chromatographic method) to analyze lactose. The resolution for the method is 0,01%, which means that we can find 100 ppm (parts per million) of lactose from cheese. So, when we are calling cheese as lactose free, it contains less than 100 ppm lactose. Sometimes it is possible to find very small amounts (100 -200 ppm) of lactose from havarti type cheese. For example, normal semi skimmed pasteurized milk contains about 5% of lactose (50000 ppm).

The cheese page gives the varieties. The Swiss comes in regular and light, with 50% less fat; there's regular Muenster and Oltermanni Baby Muenster; the Sandwich Naturals are available in Muenster, Finlandia Swiss, Oltermanni, Heavenly Light Swiss, Havarti, and Gouda; and the Finlandia Naturals Deli Sticks in Muenster, Finlandia Swiss, Heavenly Light Swiss, Havarti, and Gouda.

Since the Viola and Lappi are not mentioned in the lactose free section, I would assume that they're made with a different process.

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