Milk allergy, like all allergies, is the immune system’s abnormal reaction to a protein, in this case a milk protein. It is most common in early childhood, affecting about 2-3% of young children.
Diagnosis of a dairy allergy means avoidance of dairy for life.
Absolute exclusion of dairy products is necessary initially but up to 90% of children outgrow this allergy by the age of 3-5 years. Therefore, cow’s milk allergy is uncommon among adults. Cow’s milk allergy should be diagnosed by a registered clinical expert who will assess the detailed clinical history in combination with tests for specific ‘antibodies’ to cow’s milk protein. Food challenge tests for safe re-introduction are performed under the supervision of a registered clinical expert, such as a dietitian. The dietitian uses a step-wise approach to gradually re-introduce dairy products and may begin with baked milk products.