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Milk A Hidden Danger In Dark Chocolate For Those With Allergies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Chocolate a common source of hidden milk. And milk is a common reason for allergic reactions.

"I see people claiming to be allergic to chocolate," says allergist Dr. James DeAngelo of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Associates, "It's actually the milk protein. Most of the time it's casein."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration looked into dark chocolate, specifically.

While milk is allowed as an ingredient, it is not always listed. In fact, according to the FDA's analysis of nearly 100 dark chocolate bars from different manufacturers and different parts of the country, two out of three did indeed contain milk. Only six had it listed on the label.

"There's shared equipment at the chocolate factory that could have milk," explains Dr. DeAngelo, "And remember, they use a lot of powdered milk products in the chocolate industry, so powder can blow, it can get stuck to equipment."

The FDA also found that words like "may contain milk" or "may contain dairy" means it very likely contains milk. In fact, three out of fours bars labeled this way did.

"I would say no dark chocolate unless you had an absolute declaration on the bar that you were absolutely certain from the manufacturer that it was made in a milk free facility and that it was completely clear of that," says Dr. DeAngelo.

If you're highly allergic to milk, be aware, dark chocolate can be a risky food.

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