- Last Updated: 4:14 AM, May 24, 2012
- Posted: 12:32 AM, May 24, 2012
Observant Jews across the country were hit by a plague of Old Testament proportions when a wildly popular brand of chocolate chips sold only at Trader Joe’s lost a crucial part of its “kosher” label.
The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips had been labeled “pareve kosher” because they were dairy-free.
But the makers recently changed the way they cleaned the equipment, putting chips into bags on a production line that also processes milk chocolate.
Because of that, kosher certifiers yanked the pareve label on May 18.
Mixing dairy and meat is not kosher, making it a no-no to have cookies made with the milk chips for hours after having meat in a meal.
The ruling prompted kosher-keeping Jews to rush out and stock up.
“We’ve been sold out since Saturday. It’s been a madhouse,” said a worker at a Trader Joe’s in Rego Park.
“I never saw anything go so fast,” said another.
Home bakers were so upset, they took to Facebook. Some even tried to hawk the remaining bags on eBay.
“This is a huge hit for us,” said Esti Berkowitz, 43, an Orthodox mom of three from Queens. “If you keep kosher and wanted a great dessert after a meat meal, you could serve these amazing chocolate-chip cookies and brownies. My kids loved them.
“There’s no substitute for Trader Joe’s. Why would they do something like this?”
Even though other pareve chips are available, fans of the Trader Joe’s chips insist none has such a milky taste.
“Trader Joe’s chips were the best,” said Queens attorney Stephan Siegal. “This may not be a disaster of catastrophic proportions, but its still sad.”
The chips were remembered fondly in the Jewish media.
“The chocolate chips [have] been regarded for years in kosher households as some of the best for desserts following meat meals (and at the best price, a 12-ounce bag for $2.29),” The Jewish Daily Forward said.
The Facebook page had nearly 300 likes yesterday. But Trader Joe’s didn’t hold out much hope to Jews wandering in search of the land of chips and honey.
“We don’t talk about our business practices,” a spokeswoman said.