Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chips Are Going Dairy

Thanks to the many readers who let me know that the O-K issued a Kashrut Advisory today that Trader Joe’s chocolate chips are no longer being certified parve. They will now be OK-D (non-cholov yisroel).

Check your local TJs, as they may still have some pareve ones on the shelves.

Be sure to share this info with your friends, as I know that these chocolate chips are a veritable dessert-making staple in our house – and it’s easy to assume they’re pareve without checking.

I think it’s time for a letter-writing campaign! Who’s gonna organize?!


  1. Bethany Shondark Mandel says

    I’ve been organizing it all day.

    People can write to Trader Joe’s here:

  2. caroline says

    Is this a reasonable exception to our “don’t clear the shelves” rule?

    • LOL – yeah, maybe. There’s gonna a black market on these babies. “Hey, after Shabbos, stop by – I’ll sell you one of my last bags for just $10” 😉

  3. Leah Sarah says

    To clarify for those who care, they are becoming dairy EQUIPMENT, the OK has said no dairy products will be in the chips at all. They don’t differentiate between a dairy product and a pareve product that was cooked with dairy equipment, but there is a halachic distinction. Just so you don’t come back and yell at me, discuss it with your rabbi if you don’t know what I’m talking about! 🙂

  4. Where is the advisory does it say dairy equipment? There is a difference, but where can it be documented they have no dairy ingredient?

    • Leah Sarah says

      the OK has been sending it as a DM reply or just normal reply on twitter to the people who asked. I specifically saw the screenshot from Dani Klein, the blogger for I don’t want to repost without his permission though, but if you need personal confirmation, try to twitter them or call them.

  5. I am going to contact them as well and see if I can get any more clarification. I also think it’s probably worth a call to the OK as their advisory was a bit unclear about the fine points.

  6. SO sad. I make a monthly pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s (40 min from home) mostly for their chocolate chips. Very sad.

  7. I have written them a letter via their website contact us form. Please send to all your friends and encourage them to do the same. It’s like a few years back when Stella Doro cookies and Dunkin Heinz Cake mixes did the same. The power of the voice of the people was heard and they went back to parve!!

  8. I tweeted with the OK this morning and they sent me a two DMs so they aren’t public record on their Twitter feed. They said that “there is no dairy in the product” but they can’t tell us why the change, since that is proprietary information. I wrote to Trader Joes and I encourage everyone else to do the same. Turn this into a Duncan Hines moment!

  9. I phoned TJ corporate headquarters today at 626-599-3700. Customer rep said rabbi changed designation because equipment will be washed with a dry wash (less microbial infestation) than the former wet wash. I read a statement from Rabbi Don Yoel Levy of OK Kosher Certification that those pareve chocolate chips will now be designated Dairy-Non-Cholov Yisroel. Tomorrow is a big corporate meeting with the rabbi, vendors, and key people from TJ. I requested that they post results of meeting on their web site. Please call or email to:

    • caroline says

      Interesting, because the rep I talked to at TJ said that the equipment change took place a couple years ago. (See more notes I posted on the KOAB FB thread.)

  10. there is no difference between dairy and dairy equipment and you guys have no clue what you are talking about

    • Leah Sarah says

      From the OU, talking about sorbet made on dairy equipment: “One can eat such sorbet after a meat dish, but it may not be consumed with meat. It is halachically classified as “Nat bar Nat”, as it has absorbed dairy taste but no physical dairy content. See Remo in Yoreh Deah 95:2.”

    • Yechi – There are different shitot about this, and I certainly respect that yours does not lean toward leniency; however, I do have to insist on that same respect for other commenters.

  11. michelle says

    I am so upset about this.

  12. Just started a FB campaign! Sent a link to KOB post and telling everyone I know! Boo TJ’s for this one. Let’s get them to fix this before it is too late! I agree with Elanit–let’s make it a Duncan Hines moment!!

  13. If the ingredients don’t change, you should not worry. They are just just covering themselves from ridicule from other organizations making the consumer suffer needlessly. If these were artisan chips being made one batch at a time, dairy and parve, there would be an interesting argument. If the issue is in the wash cycle or wash ingredients, there is no issue. There would be no transfer of dairy to the equipment and if they sanitize the equipment, which I hope they do, there is no residual “tam” in the equipment. If they make dairy chips (with dairy ingredients) along with the parve chips, some might argue the D symbol as legitimate, but I find it very unlikely that any equipment will be shared for multiple products using actual dairy ingredients based on the volume they produce. If so, the question then becomes at what temperature is the product and if they use the same kettle for parve and dairy to determine if the equipment actually should be deemed dairy. Go ask your rabbi. I can assure you the answer will be “technically it is parve, but……..”. Enough said, you had me at “technically”. Enjoy the parve chips!!

  14. YaelAldrich says

    For the record, Whole Foods also has some good pareve chocolate chips and to boot, they are more of a mini size than TJs. That said I am hoping to be a couple of truckloads of TJ chips as I will be leaving the country in a couple of months and will take lots with me…

    • I do like the WF chips, also! (I think they sell the same brand – Good Earth? – on Vitacost for a few cents less, actually.)

  15. Chani Czeladnicki says
  16. why do you post comments which negate Halacha such as daniel’s?

    • Yechi – There are different shitot when it comes to this, and my blog is certainly not an authority on anything other than, maybe, saving money. I hope no one takes the word of someone on the Internet that they don’t know as the definitive halachic answer. That said – I just want to remind all of us to be respectful in commenting.

    • Yechi,
      Here is a bit more information which you can also research yourself. The OU used to designate products OU-E which meant no dairy ingredients but on dairy equipment. It has dropped this mark in the 90’s and just uses OU-D for everything now relating to dairy or dairy equipment. Such a product can not be eaten with meat but can be eaten right afterwards (you don’t need to wait the amount of time that you normally wait between meat and dairy). It is halachically classified as “Nat bar Nat”, as it has absorbed dairy taste but no physical dairy content. These chips would be classified this way only if the machines were in fact used for dairy and NOT cleaned in between. Either way, you can still enjoy your chocolate chip cookies right after your delicious steak dinner without any jewish guilt.

  17. Yechi, everyone is responsible for checking with their own rabbi on how to proceed with food that is labeled as “dairy equipment” or is dairy but the kashrut organization has designated as having “no dairy ingredients.” The issues involved are not black and white. There are very well respected Orthodox rabbis who pasken that there is a difference and there are those who pasken that there isn’t a difference. This isn’t negating halakha. This actually beautifies it.

  18. update on chocolate chip-gate. DE may not be valid here. I would really consult your LOR regarding batel b’shishim, etc.:

Leave a Comment