The Silent Pareve Lobby Strikes Again: This Time it’s Chocolate Chips


trader-joes-chocolate-chipsIt should come as no surprise that Trader Joe’s took it on the chin when it routinely switched its pareve (neutral to dairy and meat) chocolate chips to dairy. All they needed to do was ask Kraft who in 2003 acquired Stella D’Oro and found out that what it considered a “business decision” to change the popular cookie line from pareve to dairy would not be taken sitting down by kosher consumers. After a significant outcry by kosher consumers that made the pages of the New York Times, the company reversed its decision. The only difference is that social media has given the pareve lobby a new and powerful voice that instantly helped its case make it all the way to the front page of the Wall Street Journal, America’s largest newspaper.

Rabbi Chaim Fogelman of the OK Kosher Certification, which certifies the Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chips, said that in addition to the thousands who voiced their displeasure through Facebook (4200 signatures, according to the WSJ), his agency continues to receive hundreds of complaints. Many of the disgruntled consumers cannot fathom using chocolate chips only with dairy and not with meat. They are hoping that like Stella D’Oro, Trader Joe’s will relent and again assure that the packaging of the chocolate chips is segregated from dairy products.

According to Rabbi Fogelman, the manufacturing was not in question since it was produced by an independent manufacturer who met the pareve requirements. At issue was the packaging agent used by Trade Joe’s who changed the protocol to use equipment that is also used for dairy.

Industry sources say that it is unlikely that Trader Joe’s will ignore the protests, citing the discounter’s major investment in kosher. The sources say that despite the existence of other pareve chocolate chips in the market, many avid bakers prefer the Trader’s Joe brand for both its quality and price. In many Facebook posts and on blogs, some of the protesters pointed to the underrepresentation of pareve in general. Kosher consumers are not the only ones to be disappointed when a brand like Trader Joe’s goes dairy. Millions of lactose intolerant are also impacted, and in fact, many are fully aware of the term pareve. This is not the only dairy issue the OK is dealing with.

In recent months the coveted Snapple brand manufactured by Dr. Pepper had to change the designation on its canned beverages to dairy when it manufactured the canned beverages on equipment also manufacturing dairy products. The Snapple 11.5 oz. cans are now labeled OK-DE. The probable reason for the muted response by kosher consumers is that with Snapple, at least there’s the bottles.

{Kosher Today/ Newscenter}


  1. How much of the certified pareve chocolate in stores does not depend on heterim and is pareve according to all reputable opinions ?

  2. I’m not sure what i’m missing, If the whole concern is that some dairy chips fell into a pareve bag (as per the wsj article quoting an OK official), they would be batul as long as less than 60?
    Is there another concern? Or does the WSJ have the metzius wrong?
    Thank you

  3. this chocolate chip thing is so dumb. c’mon yidden wake up and smell the olam hazeh… it’s chocolate chips (and cookies, and whatever else they turn dairy)… a little restraint does wonders for the neshama. we are separate; that is a good thing.

  4. Are these products REALLY MILHIG? Isn’t there a probable bittul b’shishim in a huge factory? It’s not like the Dr. Pepper is being blended with 2% milk…
    I could understand the chocolate chips; there’s a possiblity of confusion with a pareve product (if the product is actually milchig), but the sodas and things like that really make me wonder…

  5. Not everyone lives in the New York tristate area. In some places in the country kosher parve chocolate chips are hard to come by. So give your fellow jews some credit #4

  6. To #1, #3, #5 & others:
    Its a lot more complex kashrus than you think. There is a very detailed interview by Rabbi Yair Hoffman with Rabbi Don Yoel Levy head of OK Laboratories to clarify some of the issues involved in the switch – found on another Jewish News site, that explains all the complex issues in detail.

  7. @Dani:

    The Snapple is DE, not dairy. There’s a difference. (For example, there is absolutely no problem with eating/drinking DE after fleishigs – it’s only an issue having the two at the exact same time.)

  8. It’s not just people who are lactose intolerant that are impacted-they can have it if they take a pill. It’s a bigger problem for people who are allergic to dairy(like me), who can’t have any dairy even with a pill.

  9. I don’t really care if they are dairy or parve but it must state on the package that it was produced on a dairy plant since people are highly allergic to dairy just like people who are highly allergic to nuts. If G-d forbid a person eats it and stops breathing boy do I feel bad for the company!!

  10. You people still caught up with the anti chalav stam, have get to get a life! Chalav stam is here to stay & it’s GESHMACK! It’s a lot cheaper & fresher also.

  11. Perhaps we have to be m’lawmayd Zechus.

    Perhaps all the above-mentioned individuals

    are really Tzadikim and they are fulfilling

    the Bryssa(Bilshown Hamishnah), Pirkey Avos

    6:9) of “B’Meeut Taanug”, which Art Scroll

    translates as “Limited Luxury”.

    Perhaps all the above-mentioned Hayliker

    Yidden only have the pareve chocolate chip as

    their luxury and are eager to keep to their

    limited desire.

    Vihi Rawtzon Shayemalay Mishawlos Lebaynu

    L’towvah(bechol Bakawshawsaynu).