Food allergies and intolerances are on the rise. Think about people you know - chances are, at least 1 or 2 have to avoid certain foods or food groups.
At Wild Zora, we are aware of this problem. Our bars are free of most common allergens. The one exception is our Parmesan Beef Bar, popular with children for its familiar “pizza” flavor and with athletes for its high protein content. Parmesan Beef contains, well, Parmesan cheese, which is a dairy product. We promised you a real food, so we put real cheese in our cheese bars!
I can’t have any dairy. Are your products safe?
Generally speaking, yes. We take food allergies seriously and take extra steps to avoid cross-contamination.
The question is, why do you avoid dairy products?
Some people avoid dairy because of lactose intolerance and some people avoid it because of milk allergy.
The two are often confused for one another. Let’s take a closer look at the two. It’s milk allergy vs lactose intolerance throwdown time!
Milk Allergy vs Lactose Intolerance: Why the confusion?
Both milk allergy and lactose intolerance can have similar symptoms, depending on their severity. Since the culprit is the same, it’s easy to mix the allergy with intolerance.
So, how do you tell them apart? Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
What is milk allergy?
An allergic reaction is a reaction of your immune system. Typically, a trigger is some sort of protein that your body mistakes for a threat to your system and flares up.
In case of milk allergy, the triggers are the milk proteins.
What it means for you: Any product derived from milk can cause an allergic reaction. This includes whey powder or whey protein. Simply avoiding dairy is not enough. You have to read labels diligently.
The milk allergy typically occurs in babies and young children. Breastfed babies can safely drink their mother’s milk but the mom has to avoid all milk and milk products.
Is milk allergy dangerous?
Most babies experience relatively mild symptoms. Anaphylaxis can happen but isn’t common.
Milk allergy, when undetected and untreated, can do a lot of harm. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea in infants can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions, such as failure to thrive.
The good news is that most children outgrow their milk allergies. Milk allergy in adults is not common.
How is milk allergy diagnosed?
You can start by keeping a food diary. If you suspect milk is the culprit behind your symptoms, eliminate it from your diet.
Blood tests and skin tests are also available.
Just like all the other food allergies, milk allergy can’t be treated. The only thing you can do is to avoid milk entirely.
There are many online resources that will make your life with milk allergy a little easier. Check out the Food Allergy And Research website, to understand which foods to avoid.
Are Wild Zora Foods Safe for me?
We take your safety seriously. Clearly, the Parmesan Beef bars are out of question for you. The rest of the bars are made in the same kitchen. However, we never make two flavors on the same day and the kitchen is scrubbed clean every day, so the cross-contamination risk is extremely low. We test for cross-contamination. We own the building and personally oversee the kitchens, so we know for sure that all our employees uphold our high standards.
Here is our official statement:
Wild Zora is a USDA-inspected manufacturing and packaging facility that employs CGMP (“Current Good Manufacturing Practices") and HACCP (“Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points") to eliminate cross-contamination of allergens. Our products are tested for gluten, nut, and dairy contamination by a third-party audit company at least three times per year and they have never found even a single PPM of contamination down to a measurement standard of at least 5 PPM for milk and gluten, and 2 PPM for nuts and peanuts.
The Paleo Meals To Go are made in the same facility but in a different kitchen with a separate ventilation system. When our people switch kitchens, they have to wash their hands, change shoes and over clothes.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is caused by an enzyme deficiency. It means that your body has low or zero levels of lactase, an enzyme that allows you to digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar present in milk and most dairy products.
If you are interested in how lactose works in your system, watch this video:
Lactose intolerance is prevalent in adults and only rarely occurs in small children.
Lactose intolerance is far more common than milk allergy.
What it means for you: Depending on the severity of your intolerance (or, how much lactase dwells in your digestive system), you might be able to tolerate small amounts of lactose. For example, aged cheese, such as Parmesan, contains only trace amounts or of lactose or can even be lactose-free if it aged long enough.
Yogurt with live cultures tends to be lower in lactose as well. Those cultures are doing the work for you, breaking up that pesky lactose so you don’t have to.
The amount of lactose that is safe to consume per day varies greatly from individual to individual. You will have to go through your own trial and error to determine how much is too much for you.
Is Lactose Intolerance Dangerous?
It can be extremely annoying but most people won’t experience any life-threatening symptoms. Your immune system is not involved. If you feel difficulty breathing after ingesting dairy, you have a milk allergy.
How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?
Food diary and the elimination diet will help you determine if lactose is the culprit behind your digestive issues.
There are several tests your doctor can perform to see if you have lactose intolerance: lactose tolerance test, hydrogen breath test, and stool acidity test.
Avoiding foods that contain lactose is the first step. You can also take lactase supplement to help your body break down the lactose in your food.
Are Wild Zora Foods Safe for Me?
As for the Parmesan Beef bars: it depends on the severity of your lactose intolerance. Remember, Parmesan is naturally very low in lactose and the bars contain far less than 1 oz of Parmesan. If you can tolerate Parmesan on your pasta, the Parmesan Beef bar shouldn’t bother you.
We hope this article helped answer some of your questions. If you are still concerned about allergens in Wild Zora foods, let us know in comments.