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Is Vegan Food Dairy Free?

07.15.22

Are you trying to stick to a vegan or dairy-free diet? If so, you might be wondering if vegan food contains dairy. While vegan food is almost always dairy-free, there are some exceptions. We break it down for you here.

By Definition, Vegan Food is (almost) Always Dairy-Free

By the most traditional definition, vegan food includes no dairy. That’s because vegan foods have no substances derived from animals in them, and since the dawn of time (or at least since the dawn of cows, sheep, and goats) dairy has always been derived from animals.

Is Dairy-Free Food Vegan?

Not always. Dairy-free food can still contain ingredients derived from an animal source such as honey or eggs. For a product to be truly vegan, it must be completely plant-based without any ingredient derived from animals.

What About Lactose-Free Dairy?

Lactose-free dairy isn’t vegan. Foods labeled as “lactose-free,” which are still made from real dairy, have enzymes added to them to break down the lactose so your body doesn’t have to. This means lactose-free milk still has milk in it. As a result, it’s not a vegan option.

How to Know if Foods are Vegan, Dairy-Free, or Neither

Your search for vegan and/or dairy-free foods can be accomplished in four ways:

  1. Look at the front of the package.
  2. Read the ingredients.
  3. Check the allergen disclosure statement.
  4. Find companies you can trust.

Look for Terms Such as “Vegan,” “Dairy-Free,” and “Plant-Based”

First things first, you should choose fresh fruits and vegetables which are always vegan, dairy-free, and plant-based. Yet, if you’re looking for more options in your grocery aisle, start your search by looking at the label, ingredients, and allergen statements.

Check the Ingredient List

You’ll want to then check the ingredient list for any animal-derived ingredients, especially when considering vegan or dairy-free options. One of the key things to look for is genetically-engineered milk proteins.

Check the Allergen Disclosure Statement

If you have health reasons for avoiding dairy, your best bet may be to look directly at the allergen disclosure statement. Sometimes products that might not seem like they have dairy in them may have dairy ingredients. Be sure to check the ingredient list and allergen disclosure statement to make sure a product is truly dairy-free.

Again, if you’re lactose intolerant, you might still be able to consume these products without problems. If you’re allergic to milk or animal dairy, avoid them.

Find Companies You Can Trust

A company with unclear or contradictory labeling practices is not worthy of your trust. Instead, try to source products from companies you know you can trust to provide clear, accurate, and transparent ingredient information.

You Can Trust Pacific Foods Products

We invite you to look closely at Pacific Foods’ product labels to see whether we pass the simplicity test. While not every ingredient comes straight from the garden, all of our ingredients will be familiar to you. To find Pacific Foods at a retailer near you, shop now.