'Vegan' Milk Recalled for Actually Containing Real Milk

It may be time to check over the items in your fridge because an urgent recall for a popular milk product has just been issued. Coles Supermarkets Pty Ltd on April 8 issued a recall of its Coles Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk due to the presence of an undeclared allergen. The product contains milk and is also incorrectly labeled as being suitable for vegans.

The recall stems from Australia, where the affected product was sold at Coles supermarkets, Coles Local and Coles Online in Victoria as well as Coles Lavington, Deniliquin and Albury stores in New South Wales. The product is packaged in a carton that is white and aqua and has the words "Organic Coconut Milk" printed above "unsweetened" on the front. The impacted milk has a Best Before date of 31/3/23.

The undeclared allergen could prove dangerous and potentially life-threatening for those people with a milk allergy. According to Mayo Clinic, milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. Symptoms differ from person to person and occur a few minutes to a few hours after consumption of milk or a milk product. Signs and symptoms of a milk allergy range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, vomiting, hives and digestive problems. In some instances, milk consumption can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that narrows the airways and can block breathing. Mayo Clinic notes that "milk is the third most common food – after peanuts and tree nuts – to cause anaphylaxis."

The recall notice, shared by Food Standards Australia, did not note if there have been any adverse reactions reported in connection to the recalled Coles Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk. Food Standards Australia and Coles Supermarkets Pty Ltd said those who have a milk allergy or milk intolerance – which, unlike an allergy, doesn't involve the immune system and presents itself in symptoms including digestive problems – should not consume the recalled product. Consumers can instead return the recalled Coles Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk to the place of purchase for a full refund or credit by contacting Coles Online Customer Care on 1800-455-400.

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The recall follows a February recall of raw whole milk. Toboton Creek Dairy of Yelm, Washington issued a voluntary recall at the time after it was found the raw milk was possibly contaminated with E. coli, which has the potential to cause serious illness. No illnesses were reported in connection to the recall, which was very limited in scope.