Are you allergic to milk? A new study conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that about 59% of dark chocolates in the country has trace amounts of milk. For those with severe milk allergies, even a small bite can be detrimental to the health.
"This can be a problem, since even one small bite of a product containing milk can cause a dangerous reaction in some individuals," said Binaifer Bedford, M.S., an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellow, one of the researchers of the study.
Dark chocolate has been widely enjoyed as a means to enjoy chocolate without the milk content. However, FDA's probe to test at least 100 dark chocolate bars revealed that a lot of them contained undeclared milk. They are not certain if this was intentional or not.
The FDA has issued a public warning because dark chocolates may contain milk not declared or written in is nutritional content. People with milk allergy might mistakenly ingest the chocolate and might incur serious allergic reaction. Milk is a major allergen and considered one of the top eight allergens in the country.
"First of all, milk-allergic consumers should be aware that a high proportion of the dark chocolates we tested contained milk, even when the label failed to list milk as an ingredient," Bedford said.
"And because consumers can't be sure that a statement about milk is completely accurate, they may want to contact the manufacturer to find out how it controls for allergens such as milk during production," added Bedford.
The study found out that even those dark chocolates labeled as "dairy free or allergen-free" were the least likely to contain milk. However, two out of 17 of these products were found to contain milk. Furthermore, 55 out of 93 chocolate bars who did not declare any milk contain actually has milk in them. Lastly, six out of the eleven chocolate products labeled to have "traces of milk" contained milk at high levels that are enough to potentially cause severe reactions in some people.
According to MayoClinic, an allergic reaction usually occurs minutes to hours after consuming milk wherein signs and symptoms of milk allergy range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, vomiting, hives and digestive problems. Also, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis - a severe, life-threatening reaction.