Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chips Go Dairy - Say It Ain’t So, Joe

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Tamar Genger MA, RD
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It was a half-baked idea from the start. According to news reports, a change in the cleaning process on the baggage line of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips prompted a Food and Drug Administration warning label alerting those with milk allergies. Suspicious, OK kosher certification, based in Brooklyn, investigated and found that machines used for bagging the dark chocolate morsels are no longer wiped thoroughly after processing milk chocolate chips. While this might not be a problem on Shavuot, when Jews traditionally enjoy dairy desserts, it created a panic in the kosher community who require pareve (non-dairy) desserts following a meat meal.

Foodies, homemakers, vegans and bakers have taken to social media to decry the change and shoppers who ran out to Trader Joe’s to grab the last bags have been greeted by empty shelves. Earlier this week I went to the Trader Joe’s in Westchester and there was not a chip to be found. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles,” I ruefully explained to my kids who had been hoping for muffins to enjoy at school this week.

Of course, there are other nondairy chocolate chips available at kosher markets and online. However, Trader Joe’s has been a fan favorite because of its rich chocolate taste and reasonably high cacao content. It is hard to find an alternative that is  as good and why so many cooks are willing to stir up a little cocoa controversy.

There is a Facebook Page and a  Change.org  petition has over 4,200 signatures, and that number is certain to grow after a front page Wall Street Journal article this morning. Petitioners are hoping that Trader Joe’s will reconsider after seeing the response of their consumers and return their chocolate chips to pareve status.

How are you handling the chocolate chip change? Give us a shout below and we’ll make sure Joe gets the message.

Photo courtesy of Flickr - Comp4Me under Creative Commons