The Irish government has banned the sale of milk products containing lactose, citing a “lactase reaction”.
The announcement follows a series of high-profile cases in the capital, including a 20-year-old woman who was found to have a lactase-positive blood sample, and a 13-year old girl who was diagnosed with a severe case of the disease.
The Irish Dairy Milk Council (IDMC) said in a statement on Monday that a “high number of complaints have been received of a lactose intolerance”, with the council blaming the recent high number of cases on “lack of knowledge about lactase and lactose tolerance”.
The council said the recent cases of lactase intolerance “have led to confusion and distress among many of our members and members of the public”, with many members reporting that they had not had the problem for several years.IDMC said it was concerned by reports that people in the Dublin CBD are being told to avoid milk products with lactose.
“We are aware of the concern around the potential for lactose sensitivity, and we are concerned that some members are now being told not to drink milk products,” said the IDMC.
“Our advice to all members of our membership is to avoid these products,” it added.
It is unclear how many people have reported symptoms, but the IDSC said that people who have been diagnosed with lactase or lactose-intolerance should “contact their health provider” and that IDMC had issued a press release on Monday saying “all members should contact their health care providers for further information and advice on the use of lactose products”.
Lactose intolerances are not contagious.
The IDMC said the symptoms of lactate intolerance were generally mild, but some people were experiencing a “more severe” reaction.
“Some people have described symptoms of severe lactose intolerance, including severe bloating, difficulty swallowing, diarrhoea, or a feeling of fullness,” it said.
The dairy industry has warned that the problem could affect the supply of milk in the country.
Irish dairy farmers are already struggling with a high cost of production.
The IDMC’s statement said that the cost of milk production in Ireland had increased by 50 per cent in recent years, while the cost to the economy was expected to rise by another 100 per cent.
“As a result of the recent increase in milk production, the dairy industry is struggling with an ever-increasing level of costs,” the statement said.
“The increased cost of the dairy sector is forcing us to consider other options for future growth, such as new and different milk production and processing technologies,” it went on.
“This is particularly problematic for farmers who have invested in their farms, who are now having to put the livelihood of their family at risk in order to make ends meet.”