Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vegans and Milk Allergy

Vegans choose not to consume milk for one or more of the following reasons: environmental, health and ethical reasons. Vegan products are often made on the same machinery as milk (meat or egg) products. Their are also some totally vegan factories who only use milk free equipment. Vegan Outreach has some dangerous (to the milk allergy crowd) ideas.

They are against cleaning equipment for people with milk allergies.
They are misinforming people about cross contamination labeling (both Canada and US)
They do not mention that products that say "dairy free", made on equipment with dairy (with or with or without cleaning), contain milk protein residue that may be fine for vegans, but not those with severe milk allergies.

What about 99% vegan?

Sometimes a product will be labeled as vegan but also be labeled as “99% dairy free.” What is usually going on here is that this product is being made on machines that are also used to make products with dairy. Thus there might be residual dairy on the machinery. Because some people have severe allergies to milk, the company cannot claim that the product is dairy-free. The alternative is for them to steam-clean their machinery before running the carob chips. This would not do anything to advance the cause of veganism – no fewer animals would be exploited. To the contrary, it would increase the costs of the chips, making the vegan product appear less appealing to the general consumer.

To be clear, I believe most vegans do not want to poison people with milk allergies. I understand why almost all vegans consume products on the same lines as milk. I also support milk free lines, rooms, and factories over cleaning lines, for the milk allergic.

See List of Vegan Blogs for vegan information and recipes. Some of these vegan blogs are written by people with allergies.

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