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Posted October 3, 2020

Some "Dairy-Free" Dark Chocolate Found to Contain Undeclared Milk

On October 1, 2020, the FDA announced findings from a study it conducted from 2018 to 2019 that showed that some dark chocolate products claiming to be "dairy-free" or "milk-free" contain undeclared milk. This poses a danger for people who have a milk allergy and can suffer a severe or life-threatening reaction to even small amounts of milk.

The FDA tested 88 dark chocolate bars and 31 packages of dark chocolate chips representing 52 distinct dark chocolate products, all of which were manufactured in the U.S. and claimed to be "dairy-free" or "milk-free" on the package or website, for the presence of undeclared milk. The names of the bars/chips and brands were not given.

They found that four of 52 products tested contained enough milk to potentially cause severe reactions in some people. These four products were made by three different manufactures. These four products, which comprised 12 of the dark chocolate bar samples, were subsequently recalled by the manufacturers. One additional product was found to contain milk, albeit at a much lower level. The agency notified the manufacturer of this fifth product, but it was not recalled. The remainder of the samples tested were found to be safe for people with milk allergies.

The FDA suggested that consumers with milk allergies may wish to contact manufacturers to find out how they control for allergens such as milk, even if a dark chocolate bar is labeled as "dairy-free" or "allergen-free." Specifically, the FDA recommended inquiring about whether the product is made with equipment dedicated to the production of dairy-free dark chocolate, as follow-up inspections revealed that cross-contact with shared equipment for making milk chocolate and dark chocolate may be a risk factor.

See's Review of Cocoa Powders, Supplements and Dark Chocolate Bars for tests of related products.

To read the FDA's Consumer Update about this study, use the link below:

FY18/19 Sample Collection and Analysis of Domestically Manufactured, Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Products for Milk Allergen

See Related Warnings:

Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

Mislabeled Lindt Chocolate Bar Recalled

Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

Many Dark Chocolate Bars Found to Contain Undeclared Milk