Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips Lose Non-Dairy Kosher Certification


Alisa Fleming ~ For years I’ve been sharing my love for Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips with dairy-free viewers. They are generously sized, delicious (for snacking and baking), and had never been a problem for my family. For that reason, I thought it important to let you know about changes to the dairy-free status of those chocolate chips.

Trader Joe's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips - Dairy-Free, but Cross-contamination potential

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The good news is, for those who aren’t dealing with a severe and/or life-threatening food allergy, the chips will remain dairy-free. The ingredients will still be dairy-free, and they semi-sweet chocolate chips will continue to be made on equipment dedicated to non-dairy chocolate. But, there is some bad news …

Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips are losing their kosher pareve status because of a change in the supplier’s packaging process. For the bagging process, the supplier will now use a dry cleaning procedure (Chocolate gets cleaned?!) with a machine that also packages milk chocolate products.

According to a statement from the kosher certifiers, the changes “triggered the need for an FDA regulated, dairy-related allergen statement, and this in turn brought about a change in the Kosher certification for our item — going from ‘Kosher Parve’ to ‘Kosher Dairy.’”

The fear isn’t so much of cross-contamination, but rather that errant milk chocolate pieces might (they say it is unlikely, but possible) make it into the semi-sweet chocolate bags, prompting a recall. They want to avoid the need for a recall by changing the kosher certification and adding a warning.

For those of you who are upset with this change to our beloved Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips, I do have some solutions ..

Sign the petition at “Trader Joe’s: Keep the Chocolate Chips Pareve!”

Like the Facebook campaign: “TJ’s please bring back the Parve (non-dairy) chocolate chips

Go to the source: Contact Trader Joe’s and let them know you aren’t happy with the change.

Speak with your dollars: Choose another brand of dairy-free chocolate chips!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. I just wanted to tell you how awesome you are. We’re going dairy free and your website has been an amazing source of information and support for me. Thank you so very much for all your hard work!

  2. Andrew Poltzer on

    This is more an issue of the need to keep our food safe from undeclared allergens and to properly clean equiptment for the safety of all.Most people who have a life threatening allergy to milk are children and it is a shame that Trader Joe’s has so many products that share equiptment and likely contain materials unintended for the product that people with nut or milk allergies cannot risk enjoying these products.I do 99% of my shopping at major grocery stores because they folow the intent of the food labeling laws and I feel that this is a service to keeping the food supply safe for all and gives the many people with severe food allergies a choice in variety of food.If a person is kosher and gets dairy in the food they will not know it so they must assume shared equiptment IS consuming that product because you are.

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