2011 – 2012 Undeclared Milk in Milk Alternative Products

Executive Summary

The Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) aims to modernize and enhance Canada's food safety system. As part of the FSAP enhanced surveillance initiative, targeted surveys are used to evaluate various foods for specific hazards.

The use of milk alternative products such as soy and nut beverages, as well as, dairy free cheeses in Canada has increased because of the milk sensitive population, including but not limited to, milk allergic individuals.

The main objective of the milk in milk alternative products survey was:

  • To obtain baseline information regarding the presence and levels of undeclared milk in the milk alternative products available to milk sensitive consumers.
  •  To identify potential food safety concerns relating to undeclared milk in milk alternative products.

Milk alternative products are pre-packaged products used by consumers as replacements for dairy products. A total of 278 milk alternative products were analyzed for the presence of milk protein (casein and beta-lactoglobulin). Samples were collected based on retail availability. Examples of milk alternative products sampled for this survey included soy, rice, nut and hemp beverages, pudding, cheese, yogurt and desserts.

As a result of an ongoing food safety investigation and product recall action, a request was made to determine if samples of a specific brand of product had been picked up for analysis as part of this survey. Two domestic samples were found matching the requested criteria. These samples were immediately analyzed to determine if they contained milk protein. Results for these samples were positive for milk protein. As the lot codes for these 2 samples had already been recalled, no further action was necessary. No other samples were positive for milk protein of the 278 samples analyzed.

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