Daily Israel Report

US Jews Suffer ‘The Great Kosher Chocolate Chip Crisis’

US Jews panic over Trader Joe’s removal of “pareve” from its chocolate chips, meaning they can’t be eaten with meat. Shoppers raid stocks.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/30/2012, 2:31 PM

Chocolate cakes
Chocolate cakes
Israel tastes photo

Life can be tough for American Jews when one of their favorite kosher chocolate chips no longer can be eaten within six hours after meat meals.

Trader Joe’s has removed the “pareve" label, indicating a non-diary and non-meat product, from its chocolate chips due to a change in the cleaning process for its bagging line. Kosher dietary laws prohibit any contact between milk and meat, even if it does not involves the actual ingredients.

The change in the cleaning process, carried out to save costs, could leave a dairy residue during the processing and packing process, Trader Joe’s explained to The Wall Street Journal. The residue could come in contact with the bags and even the cookies, prohibiting them to be eaten within six hours of eating meat.

The response by kosher munchers has been raids on stores that still have the pareve chocolate chips on their shelves. The new bags not only do not have the pareve label but also include a milk allergy warning.

The Journal reported that a petition has gained nearly 5,000 signatures in an attempt to convince Trader Joe’s to go back to the former bagging process and retain the “Pareve” label.

For those who did not get to the store in time, they will have to suffice with Trader Joe’s chocolate chips with the “D” label, meaning the sweets must be considered a dairy product.

One woman managed to scoop up 40 bags of the old bags of pareve chips, forking out slightly over $100. In another store, one woman bought 90 bags.  

The petition might work. Kraft Foods agreed to go back to using kosher ingredients after a protest more than a decade ago when the company began using pig fat, making its Hydrox cookies totally non-kosher.