Milk in cooked chicken? Dairy allergy alert

This is really a little mini rant for my Mum who recently braved the ‘catering for the allergic girl’ challenge. She’s pretty good at it now but almost fell foul to hidden dairy in cooked chicken.

What is it even in there for?

Why is there milk in cooked chicken?

If you have a dairy allergy or family who do make sure you do check all cooked or processed meats. I’m sure you do, but even very unprocessed looking chicken can contain milk so beware.

Now we used to see dairy a lot in processed meat as well as other strange allergens like wheat, soya etc. that shouldn’t be there. All Mum was trying to buy was simple cooked chicken drumsticks or breasts or slices. Not reconstituted meat. Not too processed. Ideally we would cook a chicken from fresh but we are both busy little bees, my mother and I.

The rest of the salad was copious, plentiful and easy. Bowls of grated courgette, carrot, radishes, lettuce, new potatoes, sweetcorn and other salady things I now can’t remember. Just the kind of meal I love. Help yourself and have as much as you want, drizzled with olive oil. Mmmmm.

Pudding was fresh strawberries, lots of red bush tea and home made flapjack. She freezes the flapjack? Anyone else do that? I never even knew you could but it defrosts pretty quick and you can nibble at it while it does.

But the chicken? Well top marks Marks & Spencer who sold some very tasty cooked chicken with just salt and dextrose in it. We both enjoyed this very much.

Not such good marks to the local Budgens which had numerous brands of chicken, ALL containing milk.

I have bought cooked chicken from Morrisons deli which is just chicken, salt, sugar and potato fibre. What the potato fibre is there for I don’t know. But no allergens. So top marks to Morrisons too.

Why? Why is it even in there? How does it get in there? Who puts it there and why do they need to inject a cooked chicken with milk from a cow?

Please can someone explain…

Anyway I don’t have time to list the brands. Mum will be going back to make a note for me so we will update this blog. This is just a gentle warning to you all, to check even things you think you can trust. Even a bit of cooked chicken can contain hidden allergens.

OK so they were labelling as containing the allergens but you just don’t expect milk to be present in cooked chicken these days.

And if the chicken is unpacked and displayed on a plate for serving you could be forgiven for assuming it was JUST cooked chicken.

Never assume anything and thank goodness my Mother is a fastidious label checker. Like Mother like Daughter.

Anyone else found milk hidden where it shouldn’t be?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Such an easy meal for an allergic visitor. Just put raw stuff in bowls and they help themselves. But anything you buy CHECK THE LABEL. Never ever take it for granted. I can eat absolutely anything, and the small print is very small, but always always CHECK THE LABEL when feeding an allergic guest. Totally amazed to find milk in the Budgens chicken, but good old M & S came up trumps.

    • Thanks Mum, thanks for the inspiration for this blog, for nagging me to get some blogs out and for checking that label. Check, check and when you’re 100% sure it’s OK, check again.

  2. “Anyone else found milk hidden where it shouldn’t be?”

    Yes. Everywhere. I have recently been diagnosed with cows milk protein allergy and am at times struggling to eat any food that I don’t prepare. As such, I completely understand the statement “Please can someone explain…”

    Aunt Bessies oven baked chips. Why on earth is milk in chips? Interestingly enough, Aunt Bessies website does not list milk as an ingredient !! Shame on you Aunt Bessie. Although the packaging does and so does Tesco’s website, though – so thank you Tescos.

    Sausages – bought from a stall in a market.

    Beef gravy. Chicken gravy.

    … and a whole host of other foods where milk should not be.

    • Thanks so much Wayne. And while we’re on the subject, can someone please tell me why is milk in crisps and why is milk in wine? Why, Why, Why? It is mostly in processed foods which have messed around with. Milk powder seems to be used as something of a flavour stabiliser or something. I can’t understand what possible benefit it could add to these products but my biggest bug bear is Green & Blacks dark chocolate. It now ALL contains skimmed milk powder as standard. Even the very dark high cocoa flavours. I used to be able to eat this chocolate until I had a reaction one time and realised. Check the labels – and don’t eat ANY Green & Blacks chocolate if you are allergic to dairy. I did speak to a chef who told me that mushrooms generally don’t come prepacked in butter but he told me that where he worked they did used to cook them in vats of butter, kind of boill them in butter. Gross! Stay vigilant and keep checking.

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