Clarification on Trader Joes Chocolate Chips (Dairy or Dairy Equipment)

Trader Joes chocolate chipsUPDATE: The OK published an update that confirms our info below. Click here to read their announcement

There has been a lot of confusion and mixed messages regarding the recent announcement of Trader Joes chocolate chips becoming OK-D, i.e. no longer pareve.

Originally, when we asked the OK (on Twitter), we received notification that the product itself was not dairy, implying that this was merely "DE", or Dairy Equipment, which is still not the same as pareve, but can be eaten after a meat meal (like Oreos – which are pareve/DE), except by those that only eat Chalav Yisroel.

Hearing reports from others who spoke to the OK, we called them for clarification. The official response from the OK is that the message we and others received on Twitter was a mistake. The product line that manufacturers the pareve chocolate chips for Trader Joes also does dairy chocolate chips (non Chalav Yisroel), and neither Trader Joes, nor the OK, can guarantee that there will not be dairy chips getting into the bags of the pareve chips.

Thus, it is entirely possible that the bag of non-dairy Trader Joes chocolate chips actually has some, albeit few, dairy chips in the bag as well, or none at all, hence the OK-D symbol.

I hope this clears up the situation, although I know this is not a satisfactory answer for many, especially those who bake with this product regularly or whom only eat Cholov Yisrael.

If you'd like to protest Trader Joes' decision to change this product, you can sign this following online petition.

Shabbat Shalom.

-Dani

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  • Daniel Wenger

    Wow – what a sad comment about quality assurance in the food processing world. I imagine there would be an equally serious uproar from the allergen-sensitive community.

    • http://twitter.com/jonburg Jon Burg

      That is why many of my non-kosher observant or gentile friends who had dairy sensitivities preferred to buy kosher pareve.

  • http://supercarrot.com/ supercarrot

    it’s because chocolate equipment can’t be cleaned using traditional methods. they need to be cleaned with more chocolate, so the first few batches of non-milk chocolate will have more milk in them than the later batches.  it’s not a matter of being careful, it’s just the nature of chocolate.  (that saying “water and oil don’t mix” isn’t just a saying, it’s especially true for chocolate.)

    what these processors need to do is have 3 levels of packaging. 1 for the dairy, 1 for the transitional, and 1 for the non-dairy.  (or, you know, take the dairy out, since it’s not only not kosher nor vegan nor free from allergens, but it prevents the body from benefitting from the positive aspects of chocolate.  there are plenty of non-dairy light-colored chocolate manufacturers. go the plant route. everyone will benefit.)

  • http://twitter.com/theburack theburack
  • mor2


    Originally, when we asked the OK (on Twitter), we received notification that the product itself was not dairy, implying that this was merely “DE”, or Dairy Equipment, which is still not the same as pareve, but can be eaten after a meat meal (like Oreos – which are pareve/DE), except by those that only eat Chalav Yisroel.

    Why is this an issue only for those who eat Cholov Yisroel? Does Rav Moishe’s shitta about the halachic status of American milk change anything in terms of the hilchos of basar v’chalav?

    • yeahtahtskosher

      Hi mor2,
      The implication of OK-D or even “DE” means that a product is Dairy or possibly Dairy, but not Chalav Yisroel. 

      We did not say anything about eating milk & meat together, but rather, items that are DE can be eaten after meat, just not with meat, which is something that falls well within the rules of kashrut. 

      • mor2

        If DE is dairy, then it should not be eaten after meat, right? Isn’t the assumption then that the item is parve? In that case, what’s the difference whether someone holds by Cholov Yisroel or not?

        • http://YeahThatsKosher.com Dani Klein

          DE means Dairy Equipment, not Dairy.

    • yeahtahtskosher

      Listen to the audio clip that theburack posted below. He explicitly states what I have stated about DE, and eating it after meat.

      http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/776080/Rabbi_Aryeh_Lebowitz/Ten_Minute_Halacha_-_Say_It_Ain't_So_Joe!_The_Trader_Joe's_Chocolate_Chips_Controversy

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