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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lactates not Lactose

I recently received an email asking if there was milk in potassium lactate.

The answer is no. In fact, there is no lactose in any of the "lac" additives found in ingredients lists.

I know this surprises some people, because there are lists of what not to eat - compiled by the lazy or ignorant - that include these items.

There are three main groups of "lac"s. Lactates, lactylates, and lactic acid.

The lactates appear in combination with calcium, sodium, potassium or, rarely, other elements. Calcium lactate is common.

The lactylates are more complicated, with forms like calcium stearoyl-2 lactylate or sodium isostearoyl lactylate.

As far as I can tell neither type will ever contain lactose. If you have lactose intolerance you don't need to worry about them.

Same is true if you have a dairy protein allergy. These ingredients have no protein in them. FAAN (The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) says:

They do not contain milk protein and need not be restricted by someone avoiding milk.

Lactic acid is a bit more complicated, for some. It does not contain lactose and presents no problem for the lactose intolerant.

But it can be derived from dairy. However, lactic acid derived from dairy (from whey, to be precise) seems to only be used in foods like ice cream or cheese, which are dairy products themselves.

Other foods use lactic acid that is not derived from whey.

So people with milk allergies need only to use some common sense. If the food is a dairy product, and you're trying to avoid dairy products, it doesn't matter if it also contains lactic acid.

If there is otherwise no dairy in the product, then don't worry about the lactic acid. Again FAAN says that lactic acid:
not contain milk protein and need not be restricted by someone avoiding milk.

All this and much much is contained in Dairy or Nondairy? The Experts Speak on my web site.

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Johnny McAuley said...

I have been recently shocked to find that Branston have been using milk products in their new tomato ketchup and I wanted to make you and other consumers who, like my wife, would not automatically think to look on the label of a bottle of ketchup for any ‘nasty’ ingredients, aware of the situation.

My wife bought a bottle of Branston Tomato ketchup during her last shop. She wanted to give it a try as it’s a new product I gather, thinking nothing of it. Our youngest son is lactose intolerant and became ill after eating a perfectly normal supper of fish fingers and chips with some ketchup on the side, his favourite treat which he has a few times a week. It was only when we investigated further that we found this new ketchup has milk products in it, hence the adverse reaction. Why, I ask myself should such an ingredient have a place in such a product I do not know, but surely they should flag it in some way to stop others making a similar mistake?

When my wife contacted the customer care department at Branston to explain what had happened, the inference was that she was a bad mother and that she should have checked the ingredients in the product first, if she knew our son was intolerant. I find this totally unacceptable and naturally she was very upset by this. I have to say I am amazed they took such a relaxed attitude on the phone, and really do feel such a large company as Branstons should have a sense of duty to inform its customers as to ingredients you’d not expect to find in their sauce. I am also surprised that Branston’s is putting these ingredients into their products, what happened to good, old-fashioned tomatoes?!

I felt it my duty to bring this matter to your attention so that we can raise awareness of this and help avoid a similar distressing situation happening to other lactose intolerant children and adults.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for putting this kind of info out there in such an easily understandsble and accessable way. Drs have been useless and was told by one (who I went to with a swollen stomache) that 'only models are stick thin, you don't have a problem'.