While there are many obvious dairy products to avoid when you have a milk allergy (e.g., butter, cheese and ice cream), some are not as obvious (e.g., sausage and hot dogs). Being in Switzerland, sausage is everywhere, particularly on the German side of the country. Luckily we’ve found some good dairy-free options, including dry-cured salamis and fresh sausages.
Nevertheless, I got into an argument with my husband on Sunday morning over the sausage he prepared for breakfast. He was getting ready to serve it without having done a Google Translate of its ingredients. As I typed in the French ingredient list, the one that caused alarm was delta-gluconolactone. Every time I see an ingredient with “lact” in the word, I assume it’s dangerous for my milk-allergic son.
We ended up skipping the sausage for him, to be on the safe side, until we could do more research. Especially because my initial Internet search found some conflicting evidence. Upon further review, we discovered that delta-gluconolactone (a.k.a., glucono delta-lactone) is not a milk product. So, the sausage turned out to be completely safe.
We knew it would take more time to review food labels here in Switzerland, given the four official languages. However, many of the challenges we face deciphering these labels are similar to those we had back in the United States. Milk and milk proteins can be hidden in lots of foods. For this reason—and because of my son’s other allergens, we generally prepare foods with short or no ingredient lists. Luckily, we’re able to make an exception for Swiss sausage.
For more information about “hidden sources of milk,” check out FAAN’s milk allergen information. Go Dairy Free also has a more complete Dairy Ingredient List. You’ll notice that glucono delta-lactone shows up under the heading, “Surprisingly Dairy Free.”