Non-Dairy and Lactose-Free Nestlé Canada Product FAQ

Friday, August 25, 2023

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At Nestlé Canada, we understand that allergies and intolerances can be concerning.

We take the health and safety of our consumers as our #1 priority and we do everything possible to ensure that any allergens that come into contact with our products are labeled appropriately in the ingredients statement. This means that you can be sure our products do not contain any undeclared allergens, and when a product is labeled as “free-from” an ingredient, we have implemented additional measures and processes on top of following all Health Canada’s regulations and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) guidelines to ensure that ingredient is not present in the product.

A milk allergy occurs when a person's immune system reacts abnormally to milk proteins and it can be life-threatening. Lactose intolerance occurs when a person cannot digest lactose, a sugar naturally present in milk and dairy products. To enjoy a product without worry we recommend that you always verify the product label for allergen warnings. If it contains any of Canada’s priority allergens, it will be listed. The label on the package is the most up to date, and we strongly encourage consumers with any dietary needs or restrictions to look at the ingredient list.

We want to help answer any questions you may have regarding allergies and intolerances. Read below to see the most frequently asked questions regarding Milk, Dairy and Lactose:

Q. When are “Non-Dairy” claims made?

Nestlé Canada has comprehensive management programs to ensure our labelling of allergens and any possibility of allergen cross-contamination are appropriately communicated on packaging.  When a “Non-Dairy” claim is made, additional measures and processes are put in place to validate the claim and to ensure the claim meets all requirements in Health Canada’s regulations and the CFIA’s guidelines.

Q. Why do certain products claim to be “Non-Dairy”? If the product does not have a “Non-Dairy” claim, is it safe to consume?

A “Non-Dairy” claim is made on products where we feel the claim would be important to consumers looking to avoid milk or other dairy ingredients. When a “Non-Dairy” claim is made, additional measures and processes are put in place to validate the claim. Nestlé Canada follows Health Canada’s regulations and the CFIA’s guidelines for labelling allergens, such as milk. For products that do not make a “Non-Dairy” claim, milk and milk derivatives are listed in the list of the ingredients when present as an ingredient or components of an ingredient in a product. When there is a potential a product may come into contact with milk or milk derivatives, Nestlé Canada will list “milk” in a “May contain” statement. It is always recommended that you always read the list of ingredients and any precautionary statements to determine if the product is safe to consume.

Q. What products claim to be “Non-Dairy”?

The following product lines are specifically made to be “Non-Dairy”:

Starbucks Non-Dairy Coffee Enhancers

Drumstick Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Cones

Q. How do you label Lactose-Free products?

Products that are lactose-free will indicate that they are “lactose-free” on the front of packaging.

Q. Do you have a list of Lactose-Free products?

Coffee-Mate liquid and powder coffee enhancers are lactose free.

Q. How do you label Vegan products?

Products that claim to be vegan are certified through Vegan Action and will bear the Vegan Action logo.

Vegan Certification





Q.Do you have a list of Vegan products?

Products that are vegan include: Drumstick Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Cones. 

Q. What is the difference between “Dairy-Free”, “Lactose-Free” and “Vegan” claims?

A “Non-dairy” claim is used to describe a product that is specifically made to exclude any milk ingredients or ingredients derived from milk in the recipe and through potential cross-contamination.

A “Lactose-free” claim is used to describe a product specifically made to ensure lactose, a sugar naturally present in milk, is not present in detectable amounts to be of a concern for individuals that are lactose-intolerant.

A “Vegan” claim that is made with the Vegan Action logo is used to describe a product that does not contain animal products or by-products and that have not been tested on animals.

Q. What does “May Contain” mean?

Priority allergens that are present as ingredients or components of ingredients must be declared on the  label of pre-packaged products. Nestlé Canada labels priority allergens that are present in a product within the list of ingredients. The precautionary or “may contain” statement on a label is meant to warn consumers of the possibility of cross contamination. Nestlé Canada follows Health Canada’s regulations and the CFIA’s guidelines on labelling allergens in the “May contain” statement. If the “May contain” statement is used, it will appear on the label immediately following the list of ingredients.

At Nestlé we make all possible efforts to eliminate the potential of cross-contact of priority food allergens on our processing lines and in our factories. Some of our factories may handle products containing priority food allergens, but through comprehensive management programs consumers can be assured that our products do not contain any “undeclared” priority allergens.

In circumstances where more than one product is processed on the same equipment and the equipment design makes it impossible to 100% guarantee the removal of all traces of these allergens after cleaning, we will use precautionary labeling warning consumers of the possibility of cross contamination ["may contain" statement].​

Q. What are the top 11 priority food allergens?

In Canada, there are eleven (11) priority food allergens that must be labelled on all packaging:

  1. Peanuts
  2. Tree Nuts (Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts)
  3. Sesame Seeds
  4. Milk*
  5. Eggs
  6. Fish
  7. Crustaceans
  8. Shellfish
  9. Soybeans
  10. Wheat or triticale
  11. Mustard 

These priority allergens have been shown to account for more than 90% of severe adverse reactions related to food allergens and must be declared on the ingredient list when they are added to pre-packaged products or on precautionary allergen statements if there is a potential for cross-contamination.​

Q. What if my allergy is not part of the top 11 priority allergies, how do I know if the product contains this ingredient.

Since this ingredient is not one of the priority allergens in Canada, the CFIA does not require it to be called out as such in the ingredients or in a "may contain" statement. Due to this, we would not be able to guarantee that there is no cross contamination.  Should you have any further questions regarding your allergy, we invite you to connect with one of our Ambassadors for further information.

Q. What are the labelling regulations in Canada?

To learn more about the Government of Canada’s composition and quality claims, visit here:

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