Does Vegan Mean Safe for Dairy and Egg Allergies?
The huge growth of vegan products in the market is great news for people needing to avoid dairy and egg — it’s basically a sure-fire way to know the product will meet your dietary needs!
But have you ever wondered if can you be certain that a vegan product is safe for someone who is at risk of anaphylaxis from dairy and egg allergies?
The short answer is: not necessarily.
How is that possible?
Australian food-labelling laws can be confusing for people with severe allergies because putting a traces statement on a food label is not a legal requirement.
This means the manufacturer gets to decide whether a traces statement goes on the label of their product or not. What happens in most cases is that if a manufacturer is worried their product may have come into contact with an allergen — risking possible anaphylaxis in some individuals — they add a traces declaration to the label.
A different manufacturer producing the same product with the same processes and procedures for handling allergens may choose not to declare the potential for traces of the allergen. This doesn’t necessarily mean their product is any more or less risky than the product that does have a traces statement on the label.
This unregulated system makes choosing food difficult for people with allergies and often deters them from buying the product at all — no traces statement on the label can’t be trusted to mean no risk.
How can you tell if a vegan product is truly safe for you?
If you have an egg or dairy intolerance (not allergies), vegan products without traces statements are unlikely to cause a reaction, however ….
The only foods you can be sure don’t contain dairy and egg are manufactured in facilities that don’t use any milk or egg products at all. This is the only way to ensure that traces — very small particles of dairy or egg in this case — haven’t hitched a ride on your food.
To make an informed decision about products not manufactured in kitchens that are completely egg and dairy free, you need to contact the manufacturer and ask about their allergy management procedures. Once you have all the information, you can make an informed decision about your own level of risk.
What do dairy and egg traces statements mean for vegans?
Are you vegan and wondering if you should consume products with traces statements for egg and dairy? Most vegan societies don’t advise avoiding products with a traces statement, provided that no animal ingredients were used in the manufacture of the product. Being vegan means living a life that strives to exclude all exploitation of animals as far as is possible and practical — avoiding possible traces when the labelling laws are lacking is rather impractical and almost impossible.
Traces statements can be super helpful for people living with food allergies, however the current laws in Australia mean that you’ll still need to do further research to find out if a product is OK for you, personally.
We try to keep things simple for you at Allergy Train
Any of our products that include traces statements are clearly labelled on our website and we have separate filters for products that either have a traces statement or don’t specify whether the product is from a completely dairy-free and egg-free kitchen — even though there are no listed ingredients containing that allergen.
If you are worried about traces and want to know if a manufacturer has declared the product safe then search Allergy Train for “dairy free” or "egg free" products. If traces statements aren’t a problem for you then you can search for “dairy free ingredients” or “egg free ingredients” as well as the "dairy free" or "egg free" categories. Either way, when you are looking at a product on our website, any traces statements will be listed along with the ingredients to help you make an informed decision.
If you have questions about any products sold by Allergy Train, please contact us for more information.
- Jenny Trezise