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Chocolate Chips and GMO’s


Note: you can find organic chocolate chips here if that’s what you’re looking for. :)

Yes, I know I shouldn’t be including chocolate chips into my baked goods too much, due to all the sugar, but I happen to LOVE them, so they’re still in the house. However, I know that I don’t want to give my kids chocolate chips unless they’re GMO-free.

(Click here for a basic GMO definition.)

First, read this GMO post if you want to know what is the big deal with GM foods, a.k.a. “Frankenfoods”.

On to the scoop about chocolate chips

…because after all, chocolate is pretty important in the whole scheme of things…are ya with me?

I called each company, and this is what I found out when checking out the three brands of chocolate chips that are on our local grocery store shelves (and it drives me crazy that this information isn’t just listed on their labels!):

  • Nestle – they use GMO ingredients and gave me a long spiel about how their products are perfectly safe and how GMO’s haven’t been proven dangerous, blah blah blah. I told her, “I’m sorry, I know you’re just saying what you’re supposed to, but that’s not a risk I am willing to take.” (We were told not long ago that trans fats were safe, too.)
  • Hersheys – I was the first person to ask about GMO’s! So because of that, all they could say was, “Our foods are safe for consumption.” Reassuring, isn’t it? In other words, yes, they probably DO use GMO ingredients.
  • Ghirardelli – to their credit, they were all over the GMO issue. Shauna, the gal I spoke to, explained that they were GMO free until they recently started using a new sugar supplier, so now SOME of their sugar comes from GM crops, but they’re working to get that back out and she said she’d call me when she knows more in a month or two. By the way, when I buy white chocolate chips, I have always bought Ghirardelli because they have no trans fats and the others I’ve seen all still do.
  • I wish I had a bag of the dairy-free chocolate chips that my friend, Amy O. uses. I’d like to call and see if those are GMO-free. If anyone has some of those and can find out, please comment. If they pass the no-GMO filter, I’ll probably buy these to try, I can’t remember how they taste…
  • UPDATE – duh, I totally forgot to include organic chocolate chips in this list – those would for sure be GMO-free. (They’re usually expensive so I’m not in the habit of buying them.) Does anyone know a good organic brand? (This has probably already been covered down in the comments but I have to run back out the door and haven’t read them yet.)
  • LAST UPDATE (maybe) – my friend Sue just reminded me that she had called Trader Joe’s about chocolate chips and they told her ALL their products are non-GMO!!! Can’t believe I forgot that, I’m a bit of a ditz in case you haven’t figured it out yet. Off to catch up on the comments, where you’ve all probably already said all this…

All this makes a case for avoiding the stupid things, doesn’t it?

Anyone have a better source for GMO-free, good tasting chocolate to use in recipes like…oh I don’t know…CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES???



  1. Let us know when ghiradelli goes gmo free, please? Man that is so sad, that chocolate chips have gmos. The other thing I’ve been looking for is 100% soy free chocolate chips. Know of any? I’m trying to cut out unfermented soy completely.


  2. Ghirardelli is MUCH better chocolate than Nestle & a much better company. I’d check to make sure the chips your store is selling are not past their expiration date. They are not as widely known in some parts of the country, & may not sell as quickly as the other brands.


  3. If something is labeled “Free Trade” would that have anything to do with GMO? I’m guessing not. The chips I’ve been buying lately are free trade and (I think) organic. Unfortunately I don’t have any in the house at the moment and don’t remember the brand.

  4. I also recently bought the “Fair Trade” organic chocolate chips from Whole Foods. The brand is SunSpire, and the ingredients are: Organic unsweetened chocolate, organic sugar, organic cocoa powder, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla. According to their website, SunSprire was acquired by the Hain Celestial Group in 2008. If the ingredients are certified organic, doesn’t that mean they are GMO-free?

  5. I get certified organic chocolate chips specifically to avoid GMOs. As a bonus, we eat less because they just aren’t as yummy. :( I’ll bet it wouldn’t be too hard to make your own, not necessarily chips, but pieces.

    Local Nourishment

  6. Sorry to hear about all the GMOs in chocolate chips, but thanks for bringing up the subject and doing some investigation! I think for now I may just chop up a chocolate bar and use that (I’ve had great results with this method, actually). I, too, am looking to avoid all unfermented soy, and soy lecithin is a problem. I have found a number of chocolate bars that do not contain soy lecithin, so that makes me happy. :)

  7. ahhhh ignorance is bliss. I remember the days when you could just go to the store and pick up WHATEVER you wanted and put it in your cart. Yes, I was ignorant, but also there were so many less things to worry about. I know learning about what we eat is of the utmost importance, but I do remember those long-ago days, and I long for them………….


  8. Kroger has a store brand organic chocolate chips (semi-sweet) that are cheaper than the HFS. I’d like to find unsweetened and use those when I have those cravings – I would probably eat less and they’d be better for me. I picked up a bag yesterday and almost went for the regular ones because I hadn’t heard/read anything about chocolate. So glad now that I chose organic. Ack! I just looked and it has soy lecithin. Otherwise it’s just sugar, chocolate liquor, and cocoa butter. Fiddlesticks! I guess I’ll have to search at the HFS. Maybe an organic chocolate bar with no soy as mentioned?

    Kelly, are the other ingredients GMO or is chocolate itself actually GMO now? I can’t see why it would need to be even for their purposes but you never know…

    Thanks for the post.

  9. Hershey just switched to using GMO’s in their chocolate chips. It’s the sugar beets they use – I got some emails from food safety watch that Hershey was going to start using GMO sugar beets in January. I think there was some backlash towards them for it but that obviously didn’t stop them. Too bad, because I love their special dark. I guess Whole Foods chocolate chips are going to be our only option for awhile.

  10. Honestly – my problem with the non-gmo’d foods and buying everything organic is that I simply can’t afford it. I looked at the choco chips at Harvest Health recently and about died. I don’t know how people afford to shop there. I have a family of 5 to feed, with one teenager and 2 soon to follow – and my teenager just started running track – so you can imagine how much food I go through ( not to mention football season! it’s a regular buffet at my house!!) My “economical homemade granola bars” start costing 10 times than it would to buy it! (I’m exaggerating a bit).

    I have to just do the best I can with what I have. We are on an extremely tight budget – I probably budget in a month what most families spend in a week or two. So – yes, I buy Nestle, (and occasionally Ghiradelli) in the big bags at Sam’s, and I then make granola bars and cookies for my kids. I make them with sucanat and fresh ground w/w pastry flour – so I know they are far better than anything store bought.

    As much as I’d like to get all gmo’d foods out, I’m not sure it’s financially possible (for us, atleast). However, we do eat a substantial amount of unprocessed, homemade, whole foods – and follow NT as much as we can – so, I have to give myself some slack on the chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes, I just want to sit down to a hot oooey-gooey cookie, a glass of raw milk, my smiling children and simply enjoy a snack together.

    Thanks for doing all the legwork Kelly! It’s good to have the information anyway.



  11. I’m right there with you, Shauna. I’d love to avoid all GMOs, particularly with animal feeds, but it just isn’t financially feasible.

    Isn’t there a recipe in NT about making carob chips? I would think it was possible to substitute cocoa powder for carob and make your own. I’ll have to add it to my list of things to do after the baby comes.

  12. Is anyone using cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips? I hear people raving about these but am afraid to mail order a bag at 16.00/lb. In my reading about the history of food, cacao beans were used as currency.

    • I bought some cacao nibs at Whole Foods the other week and they are BITTER!! I haven’t tried them in a recipe yet, just by themselves.

      • I haven’t tried these but I do know one thing: if you don’t like them plain you most likely won’t like them in a recipe either, but more ingredients will be wasted. Trust me!

  13. Bummer, I just bought a huge bag of the Nestle choco chips at Costco last Friday. I totally agree with you Shauna but for me I like to know these things so I can make good decisions when I able, one step at a time. Thanks Kelly for bringing this info to light.

  14. Kelly, Rapunzel makes chocolate chips that I buy that are very good and they are GMO-free.

    I buy them at Whole Foods. Even better, not only are the GMO-free and organic, but they are not made with refined sugar. They are made with rapadura. So much more nutritious.

    That said, I buy them rarely. Maybe once every couple of months. We rarely do dessert. I think I could probably get them from Azure Standard at a better price — in which case I could stock up on some and make cookies. I usually just make ice cream when we do have dessert.

    How do you do your cookies anyway? Do you use sprouted flour? Or do you soak the flour?

    Hey, guys, I understand being on a tight budget but honestly I don’t buy what you are saying about not being able to avoid GMOs. You CAN feed a family well with NO GMOs — even on a tight budget.

    Some ideas:

    1. Buy organic, grass-fed meat from a farmer in bulk and store in the freezer. When you buy half a cow or a whole cow, you save a TON! If you can’t store a whole cow, go in with friends.

    2. Keep chickens or find a friend who will and share the eggs. Chickens produce a LOT of eggs and eggs are a super-cheap form of high quality nutrition.

    3. Grow as much of your veggies and fruit as you can — or find a community garden or do yard-sharing. You will save a ton on your grocery bill if you don’t have to buy produce.

    4. Stop buying stuff like chocolate chips and luxury foods. My family is used to not getting desserts. I make desserts maybe once every few weeks or even once a month. To them, it is a luxury — not something they depend upon. When they want a special treat, I’ll do something else like French Fries made with beef tallow or sweet potato fries. THey love these just as much as dessert and they don’t miss the sweets. And potatoes and beef tallow (home rendered) are CHEAP!

    5. Make your own bread.

    6. Form a local co-op with neighbors or WAPFers and buy in bulk from Azure Standard or the like.

    7. Make your own cleaning products. Most people spend a fortune on cleaning products and you can clean everything with baking soda, Borax, and vinegar. Add a little soap and you can make your own laundry detergent.

    8. If something is too expensive, don’t buy it. Make meals out of what is available and inexpensive — but still nutritious. Can’t afford raw milk? Don’t buy it. Buy pasteurized organic milk and kefir it. Or buy grass-fed pasteurized butter (Kerrygold for example) which is much more affordable, and use that in all your cooking.

    9. If you can’t afford meat for dinner, make beans and rice but cook them with homemade chicken stock made from pastured, organic chickens. Super nutrient dense!

    10. Make bone-broth-based soups as often as possible. Soups are very filling and very inexpensive — and bone broth is super nutritious.

    11. Instead of expensive ingredients like chocolate or nuts, make a fruit pie for dessert. It’s a lot cheaper — and you can buy fruit when it’s in season and freeze it for the rest of the year.

    Those are just some ideas. I have a ton more.

    Remember, the people Weston Price studied did not eat fancy stuff. They ate what they had. The just chose the best from what they had — the most nutrient dense. The people in the Swiss Alps ate mostly bread and butter and cheese most of the year. If I had to, I could totally live on homemade sourdough bread with good grass-fed butter and cheese, and a few veggies from my garden.


    • Great advice! I also cringe inside whenever I hear folks claim to not be able to afford to cut GMO’s from their diets – I’m disabled and on a micro tight budget, I feed my family non-GMO exclusively – except for the occasional product that slips through until we learn it’s GMO, then we don’t buy it ever again! One thing I wanted to add is that it seems to me and my family when you eat whole foods or grass fed beef, it seems to fill you up on less then a food containing GMO’s. We eat much less than we used to, and enjoy what we eat more. I do grow a lot of our foods, in the winter I grow foods in 5 gallon pails by the windows – nothing store-bought is ever cheaper than growing from seed! Next time you get a bag of organic potatos just set one or two to sprout, and then plant them. Just that easily you’ll have potatos for months! I think people should knock of the whining and put some effort into it! It’s intimidating at first – but it’s a lot cheaper than getting sick – loss of work, medical treatment, travel to specialists – spend a little more now and you’ll feel so much better after a week of all organic non gmo foods you’ll never go back! Aslo – making your own bread is huge for us! Boys/men need lots of bread to feel satisfied- we couldn’t afford to eat bread the way we do if we were buying it made.

  15. I haven’t had a chance to read the above comments yet, but will later today. Just wanted to let you know I added a little update up in the post about organic chocolate chips.

  16. Just got off the phone with Nestle. I figured if they get enough inquiries then maybe they’ll rethink things. One can hope can’t she? Anyway, they were very nice. The first person who took my call didn’t know what I was talking about, put me on hold then said that she had read through the ingredients and that they did not have any GMO’s. I then informed her that it would not be listed in the ingredients and explained things to her. I was finally connected to a supervisor, maybe the same one you spoke to Kelly, who said they did in fact use gm ingredients in some of their products, then proceeded to give me the speil that there was no difference in the gm ingredients and that the FDA approves of their safety. I very nicely informed her that I disagreed and that I was trying to make a conscience choice to feed my family healthy foods based on the research that I’d read instead of being swayed by the FDA whom I felt wasn’t making choices based on what was best for the American public’s health and that I was sad to have to eliminate Nestle products which we love and have used for so many years from our families diet. She then said she would relay my concern to the company since they like to know what the public thinks about their products. I said it would be a great coop for the American people if a large corp. like Nestle would take a stand against these types of ingredients. Ok, I’m off my soap box. Thanks again Kelly for all this wonderful information at least I feel like I can make a difference in my family and if I call the companies to inform them why I won’t be purchasing their products then maybe I’ll be helping out further. Have a wonderful Easter!

  17. I have to agree with Cheesslave about the cost of ogranic vs. non-organic. During the summer, I spend about 89 cents on organic lettuce and convention is like $1.29. I don’t have enough money to buy a cow upfront, BUT I do look out for sales on the grass-fed stuff and stock up and put it in the freezer (I end up paying $3.25/lb instead of $7/lb). I called around to local farmers and am now getting pasture eggs for $3.19 a doz. Yes, more expensive than the 92cents a dozen but after learning that pasture eggs are 5 times as nutritious, it would cost me $5 for 5 dozen to get the same nutrition I am now getting in one dozen, for less than $4. I goto the Farmer’s Market and stock up my freezer too (I have tips on my blog about getting deals at the market – search in the box in the upper left hand corner).

    Look around. We have a Bargain Mart in our city that has AWESOME prices on foods. They have gluten free as well as organic for like 70% of what the HF stores sell them for. Keep an eye out at regular grocery stores for sales on their organics. I am able to get organic strawberries right now for $2.50 a large package. Conventional is about $3.

    There is also an online forum which lets you know about deals and how to use coupons (yes COUPONS) to get organic and healthy foods: (please use my user name lvg4him when registering – I get nothing but bragging rights). 😀

    AS for GMO-fre chocolate chips, I have a call in to Enjoy Life right now. We get their (GF, Soy Free, Dairy Free) chocolate chips. Ingredients are: evaporated cane juice, Chocolate liquor, non-dairy cocoa butter. They taste pretty good! They are certified Pareve (whatever that means). I will let you know when I hear from them.


  18. Very interesting. This is the first I’m hearing about GMOs. I’ll have to read up on it.

    Ghirardelli is my FAVORITE brand for chocolate chips (I like it way better than Nestle). I like to keep them in my freezer to give myself a little treat. I usually end up getting the bags of Nestle from Costco, though, because they’re cheaper. But after reading your post I may have to reconsider.

    Pink Monkey

  19. Wow Lilia that is awesome that you called!

    It’s so true that we CAN make an impact!

    If you guys can, please go here and email Gov Sebilius about the growth hormone in Kansas milk:

    They want to remove the labels on milk in Kansas so that they won’t know if their milk has bovine growth hormones.

    Of course it’s Monsanto behind this.

    We CAN make a difference. It may be a small action to send an email, but if we ask our friends and spread the word, enough emails will get sent that it WILL create change!


  20. Bravo! GMO’s – a complex but vital subject. And chocolate – vital without question:-) I just went to the kitchen to examine my bags of choc chips. The ones I currently have on hand are made by Sunspire – parent company is Hains celestial. I called their office and the gal was most knowledgeable and helpful. The first package is ‘grain sweetened’ made with non-GMO soy, but she couldn’t guarantee that the corn or chocolate were GM free. :( Next is ‘organic semi-sweet’ and everything is non-GMO. I do take issue with the fact that the first ingredient is refined sugar, even if it is organic (i asked her to pass along a request for agave or rapadura…) What I tend to use more often (which is why I’m probably out) is Green and Black organic (and fair trade) cocoa powder, or chocolate bars and cut them into chunks. I also have Sharfenberger baking bars on hand and I believe they are anti-GMO but I have yet to call them.
    Cheeselave – I love all your ideas on how to avoid GMs whenever possible – it should be a separate post! I did something similar last week on saving money while staying ‘whole.’
    A great resource for more in-depth analysis fo the whole GM issue is the film “The Future of Food” by Deborah Koons Garcia. I hosted a dinner and viewing with her which influenced many unsuspecting people.

    Also – I just came upon a new website which offers food products for every allergy or food sensitivity: Jennifer is the owner and knew a fair amount about the GM issue as well. Only one of the choc chip varieties that she sells is non-GM: Enjoy Life.

    I have also been using a lot more carob for health reasons but have had trouble with the consistency when it melts. Anyone else?


    • thanks everyone for your info’s.
      it was 2009 when Karen wrote about Sunspire chips “…package is ‘grain sweetened’ made with non-GMO soy, but she couldn’t guarantee that the corn or chocolate were GM free….”
      So I’m wondering: anyone know if this is still the case, or have they improved their non-GMO trip?
      Thanks for any info! :)

  21. I understand what your are saying, Ann Marie. In fact, I wrote about it myself over at Homestead Blogger not too long ago:

    But I will argue that it is still not always possible or affordable. I’m am referring primarily to animal feed. Organic or even non-GMO is just not available. But I will still argue that the food I produce for my family is better than the majority I can get even locally. I at least have control and can minimize our exposure. My children have never darkened the door of a physician’s office. No one in my family takes pharmaceutical of any kind.

    An example: I can buy organic hay (mind you, it isn’t certified, just not sprayed with herbicides or fertilized with chemical fertilizers) that is cut at the wrong time, loaded with briars, and that provides little nutritional value. OR I can buy conventional hay that is leafy and green because it was cut at the optimum time. I’ll opt for the latter because in my experience with both of these sources, my cows are healthier with the conventional hay. The conventional is more nutrient dense than the organic.

    Most pasteurized organic milk is ultra-pasteurized. In fact, all I can buy in our area is UHT. I’ll argue that my raw milk produced with conventional feeds and fed as much of my own grass as I can eek out is far more nutritious than anything put out by Horizon or Organic Valley.

    In an ideal world, our land would be pristine pasture. It would never have been logged 40 years ago, the top soil would never have washed down and choked out the stream in our ravine, and we wouldn’t have to work so hard to restore the land. We’d also be in debt up to our ears and have lost our home and farm by now if we had pristine pasture since we currently have NO income.

    I believe if we want good food available at relatively reasonable prices, we need to buy locally and continue to impress on our local farmers that we want non-GMO, naturally raised foods. If we never buy anything but “certified organic”, we actually hurt the small farmers that may not be able to comply with the regulations.

    I’m not out to give or take offense here. But we grow our own food and I think it is important for everyone to realize that organic/GMO-free/natural/local is not always so cut and dried.

  22. LOL, Ann Marie, that’s great for a blog-post-in-the-comments … maybe copy & paste that one to your blog? :-) Very useful.


  23. Kristin – Great article! I stumbled it.

    I agree with you. You are right about animal feed. It is hard to find organic from what I have heard from farmers and homesteaders.

    However, I don’t think you have to worry about non-organic hay. Yes, it does have pesticides but at least it is not a GMO crop.

    The GMO crops we really need to avoid are corn, soy, canola and cottonseed.

    This is why I think it’s really scary to eat meat and consume dairy products from animals eating conventional (conventional — I HATE that term — it’s a whitewash term that hides what it really is — POISON!) feed. Conventional feed that includes non-organic soy and corn almost always includes GMOs. We do not know how those GMOs get passed from those animals to us. I don’t think it’s safe to eat.

    I don’t think food needs to be certified organic. I buy lots of food from local farmers that is not organic — but it’s not sprayed and it’s not GMO. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drinking raw milk from cows that are eating non-organic hay. It’s not genetically modified. But I would absolutely avoid milk from cows eating GMO corn and soy.


  24. Thanks, A.M. I hate like anything to have to buy feeds with corn & soy. I avoid as much as I can. But they (Monsanto, keep adding more! Now it is GMO Sugar Beets! I was feeding beet pulp the last year or so (good fiber source) to keep hay consumption down (due to drought). Forget that now!! And they’re trying to get GMO alfalfa approved… has been on hold for a few years. It is a major component of my feed.

    Our best bet (I mean my family, personally) is to convince one or more local farmers to grow open pollinated feed and human grade grains. But this area is soooo “conventional” when it comes to ag. And I’m finding that I need to educate myself, experiment, and then educate the farmer(s) on how to develop fertility naturally. I figure we’re in it for the long haul though and someday my labors will pay off.

    For now, I minimize the use of corn and soy and buy organic/non-GMO grains for us to eat. I do think the animals filter out, to a degree, some of the “bad stuff”. But if their systems are overloaded as with feed lot beef, confinement dairies, and battery birds, it’s in there.

  25. I just updated the post AGAIN with some info from my friend, Sue.

    Connie, I hear ya, believe me, I do. My friend Lyn always says, “Why do I have to have so many convictions?!

    BTW, I didn’t even mention carob chips in the post because I think they’re nasty…sorry to any of you who may like them…!

    Ann Marie, yes, I use my sprouted flour when making cookies, which I don’t do a LOT, but it’s nice for when my kids have friends over or whatever, for them to have a treat that tastes great and is MUCH better for them than a store-bought cookie.

    Hey, thanks for all those great tips, too – I hope you have them all in your “eating healthy on a budget” post!

    Lilia, thanks for calling Nestle! The rest of you, please consider doing that, too!

  26. Gotta agree with Cheeseslave, if you can put food on the table (lack of even minimal food is a different story), spend your food budget on good high quality food ingredients and cut the discretionary stuff. My local acquaintances who complain out the high cost of organic, local, non-GMO, or grass-fed are almost always still buying expensive and totally unnecessary snack and convenience foods, like granola bars, cheese crackers, packaged salad ingredients, bottle dressings, carbonated beverages, etc., not to mention still stopping at the ice cream parlor franchise, dining out or picking up takeaway, ordering delivery pizza, etc. Of course that drives up the food bill and makes it hard to afford high quality food. I try to focus on the best ingredients to prepare food that nourishes us and cut back or eliminate the optional items that are marginal in nutrition terms.

    That said, when I buy chocolate chips, I get TJs brand. Even if I wanted Nestl

  27. I was sneaking Ghiradelli cc as my little treat to keep from eating my kids (very cost-effective, double points for reducing the food bill) until I discovered cocoa nibs. The ones I get are from Theo, here in Seattle. They are the only organic, fair trade chocolate roaster in the US. I bought a BIG bag of them so if anyone really wants to try them out I’m happy to mail you a little sample. They don’t have anyhing in them except cocoa beans. You can “candy” them meaning dredge them in sugar syrup and let them dry to sweeten them but I am getting used to just eating them out of the bag. And because they aren’t sweet they are a super food. They are a great crunchy addition to the coconut fudge recipe (coconut oil & cocoa powder), added to pancakes, homemade ice cream, cookies, or on anything that you would otherwise put chocolate sprinkles on (peanut butter oatmeal muffins, anyone?)

    Just email me if you want some in an envelope mailed to you (

    Now I need to go check out Kimi’s chocolate chip recipe…

    Sustainable Eats

  28. You know what, Anna… I just realized something… I know you are very limited on grains… so it made me realize something when I saw your comment…

    I was on the phone w/ Kelly (we can’t get enough of each other on our blogs so we have to talk on the phone! :-) ) and I said that we rarely eat desserts — and she asked me, “How do you avoid desserts?”

    I really think it was doing GAPS for so long. We did GAPS last year from about April till I don’t know July or August. Not that long, really, but long enough. Going without sugar and all grains for 3 or 4 months is not easy!

    But the weird thing is, you get used to it. And it changes you.

    Before we did that, I used to ALWAYS crave chocolate chip cookies. I used to buy an organic brand of premade cookie dough that I’d keep in the freezer and bake a few cookies for myself maybe 2 or 3 nights out of 7 every week.

    Then we did GAPS and I just now realized, that’s what broke me. I honestly do not crave sweets anymore. Sure it’s nice to have them every once in a while, and I still take a little stevia in my morning cup of coffee… but I don’t crave desserts. Almost never. And when I do have them, I can only have a few bites — it’s just too sweet. (Except my homemade ice cream — which I don’t make too sweet — I can eat LOTS of that!)

    I think the other thing is taking maca and iodine and balancing my hormones. I think that broke me too. Normally I used to really crave chocolate around my period — I don’t anymore.

    Don’t get me wrong — I still LOVE chocolate. I just don’t crave it like I used to.


  29. I was just thinking about this yesterday – I used to totally crave chocolate chips and as soon as I started eating coconut oil that stopped. I think my body needed the cocoa butter fat more then anything else, plus the mouth feel of something sinfully good which I get from the coconut oil. I’ve gotta have me some coconut pancakes every few days or I go crazy now. And those with the NT orange marmalade made w/ whey instead of sugar and maple syrup is a little slice of heaven…

    Sustainable Eats

  30. Wow — so much emotion over chocolate chips!! I too love, my chocolate. And I always have a big bag of nestle chocolate chips from Sams in my pantry. And then some really good dark german chocolate.
    I am so disappointed to read about nestle and gmos.
    I have to agree with Shauna on this one, as a mother of 2 teenage boys, and a preteen daughter (who eats as much as the boys), and we are on a very limited budget.
    Cheeseslave gave some wonderful tips and ideas. Ones that I already follow. My children have been very good natured and on board with the changes in our eating habits. They tease me alot about it, and I try not to be a zealot. It helps that we live in a neighborhood that so many families are eating whole food/ organic. But I would have a revolt on hand if I stopped doing cookies for lunch boxes and snacks.
    My children have very healthy eating habits (always fruit on the counter and veggies ready to eat in the fridge). Those are the first things they eat, then a cookie as a treat. I use my chocolate chips for cookies, chocolate chip waffles, and granola.
    I will have to do some looking around and comparing.
    Unfortunately, I think everyone has to make compromise that fits the needs of their families.

  31. Cheeslave – I agree with what you are saying – and I am already doing every single one of the things you mentioned. I went through the list, I’m not exaggerating. My monthly budget is now down to about $250 a month to feed a family of 5. Dh lost his job again, and is now starting a business and is self-employed – which means money is incredibly tight. I don’t make dessert – I buy choco chips to make granola bars for my kids, and occasionally cookies. We don’t eat sweets or desserts otherwise. I’m buying what little grass-fed beef and pastured chicken I can afford, and liberally mixing in meals like: potato soup (with lots of chicken stock and CREAM) and homemade bread; beans and brown rice (that I doctor up in different flavors); homemade refried bean burritos etc. Our meals are VERY simple, with no fru-fru ingredients. I simply cannot pay $6 a pound for organic potatoes, and this time of year, the only place to buy organic veggies, they cost 2-3 times as much as “regular”. I have to buy the regular, and be content that I’m atleast feeding my family vegetables, rather than “food from a box”. I also garden and can an enormous amount of food – which we are living off of right now. Paying $5.99 for a 12 oz bag of organic/non-gmo’d choco chips is simply ridiculous right now. I think there are a lot of us who are in desperate financial straits right now. I would love to keep chickens – but I can’t where I live. I would if I could.

    I’m not trying to sound defensive – really I’m not……. just trying to say that sometimes, one can only do the best that one can do.

    Lila – how awesome that you called too and gave them the bonus schpeal! Who knows, maybe if they hear enough, it will make a difference!



  32. Shauna

    When it comes to GMO ingredients, you only really need to worry about corn, canola, soy and cotton.

    You don’t need to worry about potatoes. They just have pesticides. No GMOs!

    The things I try to avoid are non-organic corn, soy, and canola, and of course meat, milk and eggs from animals who have been fed non-organic corn and soy.


  33. Shauna,

    You are my frugal hero – kudos to you for feeding your family such a healthy spread on that little amount! I wish more folks in financial straits could be that creative and disciplined. What a great matriarch your family has.

    Sustainable Eats

    Sustainable Eats

  34. Paula, thanks for calling them!

    Shauna, I agree that we all need to do the best that we can, especially in this economy, and geesh, you’re really good at doing on a lot on not very much $!!!

  35. Money can be tight, but if it is tight don’t buy chocolate. GMOs are more dangerous as they are gaining greater support in the market. Like a previous poster said, but healthier foods that cost less over-all. This is much like the Wal-Mart situation. The long term effects aren’t worth the trivial amount of savings in the here and now. Work with others, start a co-op, write your senators, talk to your friends and neighbors, expand your ideas to lessen your consumption, love yourself and your families, keep those you guard healthy, and by all means quit supporting the bad aspects of our American Life and Culture. Looking back at what was written, I have some work to do.

  36. I was re-reading the comments this morning, and I had to chuckle at Jeanne’s comment “Chocolate chips sure stir up a lot of emotion!” :) (I am paraphrasing).

    It’s been great to read all the comments though!



  37. I wonder if any of those (non GMO) companies would sell by the case so people or chapters can set up buying clubs. Just a thought. This whole buying club thing is new to me and I am astounded how much we can save by buying together as a club.

    I just got back from the farmer’s market and set up a deal with the fishmonger I had been buying from – very exciting stuff since it will save us a ton of money. Chocolate chips are one of those things you could buy in bulk and store for awhile – perfect buying club matter.

    Sustainable Eats

  38. Chocolate chips…”trivial”…? I don’t know if I’d go that far! hahaaaaaaa

    I’m going to ask my sister to get me some at Trader Joe’s this week to try, I’ll let you know what I think! (Why oh why can’t we have a TJ’s and WFM in GR?????)

    Ann Marie, I followed your link and it was very interesting reading about Percy Schmeiser taking on Monsanto. Makes me excited for the no-GMO challenge to begin!

  39. Cheeseslave,

    Thank you. I loved the article. It’s going to be a long fight to reach the point where we can trust our food (if that even happens). In regards to buying the cheaper chocolate or not, I was mainly aiming at those saying they can’t afford the better quality (if you ask me) chocolate because of the cost. It’s just better to avoid it and not support than to do anything else. It becomes a matter saving ourselves in the long run.

    Everyone else,

    Labeling of terms in accordance with GM foods can be misleading. Check this article out, you fine people:

    Be careful how you ask certain questions when calling these food companies. Just a heads up.

    Also, GM soy in chocolate is getting national attention here:

    Looks like those fine folks at Monsanto are even interested in the economic effects that might come from labeling food more accurately. What I would like to know is if GM foods are safe to begin with, then why not want to label them properly? It shouldn’t matter if their safety isn’t an issue.

    Thanks for being out there in the world, guys. Really, it does my heart some good to see people that are people out there as aware as all of you are, making a difference. I’m just kinda “out there”, so I need you around.

  40. Hi Ben,

    I get the point of the article at that first link, and totally agree that labeling should not be misleading, but I think that it’s at least a good thing that labels are starting to say things in big bright letters like “GMO-free!” – that was the first step in getting trans fats listed on all the ingredient labels, when companies first started voluntarily talking about it (they were listening to consumers like us who were calling in and asking them about it like we’re doing now with GMO’s!), and then the industry took notice, and now most everyone knows about trans fats and they’ve been removed from many products! (Often replaced with crap oils, I know, but you get my point.)


  41. To Ben’s point on the labeling, there are many companies who label (approved by FDA) “Transfat FREE” yet are made with partially hydrogenated oils. How does that work, I ask you? Because the FDA struck a deal allowing them to lie. It’s the same deal that allows them to call hydrolyzed wheat anything but MSG.

    You cannot trust the labels. These companies are so wiley they will rename it something else and lie through their teeth.

    Not to me though. They get no more of my money. It goes to hardworking, honest farmers or companies that carefully screen their product offerings. And I personally don’t put Trader Joes or Whole Foods in that category.

    Just speaking for myself and those I am responsible for – to protect the health of the species.

    In my mind the food pandemic is just as important as slowing global warming. Two or three generations and we we will all be mutants, not just our cancerous inner parts but glaring outer parts as well.

    Ending soapbox now and picking up cocoa nibs because these days I say no to chocolate chips…

    Sustainable Eats

  42. I can agree with you. “GMO free” makes someone unaware ask “why is that so good?”. They research and begin to understand. In some way or another it brought each of us here. So, it IS nice to see.

    My concern is if we are calling, let’s say Nestle, and asking “do you have GMOs in your products?”, and Nestle (hypothetically) says “No” then we are mislead additionally destroying the efforts. I just wanted to show the warning to those of us here so we could avoid that. Even the GMO free products need to be clear as to what that means.

    Thank you for doing what you do. And, I am with you, it is going to be one fight at a time for a while (crap oils replacing trans fats). Have you seen a film called McLibel?

  43. Sustainable Eats – A buying club is a great idea! I love it!

    As my husband always says, “money talks”. For the most part, we mothers/women control most of the dollars spent on food. We need to STOP buying products that support companies like Monsanto, and spend that money on companies who are trying to do good!

    I feel so blessed to know so many of you people who care about these things, and who are taking action. Thank you all!


  44. Yes, you ladies ROCK! And I know we keep harping on Montsano but they are in good company in the top 14 most evil companies. Nestle is on that list too since we are on the subject of chocolate chips:

    “Nestle USA

    The problem of illegal and forced child labor is rampant in the chocolate industry, because more than 40% of the world

  45. Wow, and to think I raved about Nestle chips for years………who knew?!

    Ben, I just watched the McLibel trailer…can’t stay awake for the 82 minute movie! Interesting…I’m thankful that place doesn’t even sound good to me anymore, makes my stomach churn actually – amazing what knowledge can do.

    Karen, I tried to watch the trailer for the Future of Food, too, but the plugin they wanted me to install was for Apple…

  46. Kelly,
    Email me your address and I’ll send you a copy of the DVD.

    On another topic – we just spent the weekend with friends who have 18 mo. old twins. The girl is a little behind in her learning skills and her parents are concerned about possible autism. They are doing all they can to be natural and avoid excess vaccines (esp. after reading all of Jenny McCarthy’s books.) Daughter won’t eat meat and they’re trying to supplement her iron intake. Having never been a mom myself, and reading all that you have written, do you have any suggestions on additional resources? Food wise, I’ve suggested teff, quinoa dark leafies. Thanks so much. Always so enjoy your missives!


  47. Hi Karen,

    I went through trying to increase iron with my then toddler. We did black strap molasses in and on everything, including milk, there was a chicken liver pate recipe on one of the Wednesday carnivals, I think just last week but I can’t remember who it was – someone who is British living in France now but can’t recall her name. I also fed lots of seaweed in the form of flakes, nori with brown rice inside, etc. I used a paper stamp to cut shapes out of the nori wrappers to decorate food to entice my guy to eat it until he developed a taste for it, or you can roast it on cookie sheets and then crumble it into flakes to hide in things. I also put wheat germ sprinkles on everything but since learning more about WP I’ve cut out the wheat germ since it’s not a whole foods. We also take a whole food supplement called juice plus which is filled with leafy greans, juiced & dehydrated rather than synthetic iron which your body doesn’t absorb anyway. Oh and someone mentioned on the smoothie thread that they steam kale and nettles then freeze in ice cube trays to throw into stone fruit smoothies to disguise them. I’m wondering if something as dark as chocolate would help hide it but certainly putting it into muffins or something like carrot bread would help too. Toddlers can be so difficult sometimes – my current one goes on eating strikes for what feels like days but he seems pretty healthy and extremely active. He eats mostly pancakes and french toast but I make them into complete meals with lots of egg yolks, cream or buttermilk, whole wheat homemade bread and lots of butter and that seems to be all he needs for now.

    Sustainable Eats

  48. Karen, tell your friend about GAPS Diet!!! Look over in the right in the sidebar for the GAPS posts – it can cure Autism!

  49. Kelly,
    I am remiss in mentioning that over the weekend we spent with our friends, I was reading all about the GAPS diet, as I myself have just had to go on it! All of us shared the commonalities in our readings – it was pretty amazing. I am working with Dr. Thomas Cowan (Fourfold Path to Healing) who subscribes to WAP and Sally Fallon philosophies. It wasn’t until I read YOUR posts that I even knew about GAPS, and ‘ironically’ it was the suggestion Dr. Cowan had for me to help with recent migraines. In looking back, I sure wish I knew about it sooner (isn’t that always the case), as I have no doubt it would have helped me with ADD. Thank you!


  50. Karen, don’t you love it when you get “confirmation” like that, so you know you’re on the right path? :)

  51. Hi Kelly, the best deal I’ve found lately are Smith’s Private Selection Organic Chocolate Chips. They’re three bucks for 10 oz. I haven’t tried one yet though.


  52. Doreen, where do you get “Guittard”? Never heard of that brand.
    Kyle, let us know what you think after you try them, and also, tell us where you got them?

  53. Kelly, I buy Guittard in my local grocery store. That’s the brand I was trying to remember in my first post. I didn’t have any in the house at the time.

    The store I found it in is their newest and a little fancier than some. I don’t know if the chips are something they carry everywhere or just in the higher end stores. But they’re in the regular baking aisle, not in any special area.

  54. Kelly,
    I can buy Guittard at a local store in the regular baking isle also. It’s more expensive than regular chocolate chips, but cheaper than organic. My buying club sells it too. Of course you can also buy it online.

  55. Oh, I thought Smith’s was all over the country, but apparently it’s only in the west. Sorry! Anyways, yeah, they’re at Smith’s.

  56. I’m not sure why you’d say that organics definitely don’t have GMO’s… It is commonly understood in the food industry that there is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy among organic growers regarding GMO’s. There’s simply no way to completely protect organic crops from being tainted with GMOs. So, you can ask them whether they use GM crops, but whether they contain GMO’s is an entirely different matter.

  57. Larry, you’re right. Here’s what Jeffrey Smith had to say on this:
    “Nothing that contains corn or soy, for example, is definitely not GMO, given the possibility of contamination. Organics are not allowed to use GMOs, and there are prevention methods that minimize the likelihood of it happening. Sure there are some small amounts of contamination that do get in here and there. Fortunately, the new Non-GMO Project is pioneering a third-party verified non-GMO standard, so look for that on both conventional and organic products. The standard requires testing when at-risk ingredients are used in production. Here again, it is not a 100% guarantee of no GMOs.”

  58. I emailed Ghirardelli and this is how they replied:

    Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, a leader in the premium chocolate
    category, prides itself on delivering the highest quality and most
    innovative chocolate products. Because we understand some consumer’s
    reservations concerning genetically modified ingredients, Ghirardelli
    Chocolate Company will do everything, within the limits of its
    capabilities, to procure and use raw materials from non-genetically
    modified origin, as long as they are available.

    Thank you for your interest in Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.


    Consumer Affairs Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

  59. I would be interested in knowing if Guittard Chocolate is GMO free. Does anyone know? Where are the GMO’s located? The milk? I didn’t know they even used GMO’s for sugar…I bake cakes….check out my blog….Wouldn‘t it be wonderful if I could come up with a completely natural way to make all of those fantastic novelty cakes. Chocolate is just one more step in the right direction. I have stumbled on your blog three times now and love it each and every time!!

  60. Danielle Theo Chocolate in Seattle uses makes organic chocolate without soy lecithin. Otherwise you can buy organic cocoa powder and even organic cocoa butter and use those to replicate melting chocolate if you really want a dense cake.

    • What were you wondering if there’s an update on? (Sorry, I’m in the middle of something and can’t go back and read everything to remind myself!)

  61. Hi,

    Thanks for the wonderful information posted on this site. I’ve emailed a few chocolate companies asking if their products are GMO free. This is what I’ve found:

    Lindt: is GMO because they use milk from cows treated with rBST/rBGH
    Godiva: same as Lindt
    Guittard: GMO free including sugar, soy lecithin, and milk
    Ghirardelli: sent two emails with no response. Since they are owned by Lindt I am assuming they are GMO.

    So Guittard (and Theos) get my business! So glad these companies care about their customers.

    Please pass on this information.


  62. I have to say that I’m not the least bit surprised Nestle includes GMO’s and I doubt they’ll make much effort to change that, as long as it’s the cheaper option. And there won’t be enough stink about it for them to care.

    There has been a Nestle boycott going on for years because they actively push their formula in third world countries where families don’t realize it will take their entire monthly income to buy one can of formula or that clean water is needed. Babies die because they undermine breastfeeding for a little bit of profit.

    I won’t even get into the child slavery issues with chocolate, particularly Nestle. There are plenty of other reasonable options that don’t support companies that rank up there with Monsanto in terms of ethics.

    That being said, I’m headed to the pantry for some chocolate :)

    • Rachel, you make me extra thankful that I haven’t bought their chips in a loooong time. I don’t buy anything Nestle. :)

  63. Marcie’s Sweets, Enjoy Life,, Cacoa nibs, Ghiradelli 100% baking chocolate chips

    YUM YUM!

    Anyone know about Baker’s 100% chocolate? Does any 100% unsweetened chocolate have GMOs?

    • Trader Joes chocolate Chips ABSOLUTELY DO contain GMO’s. Don’t believe what is not put in writing. The are in business to make money.

      • Jill, How do you know this. They pledge that they don’t sell GMO products at all, so if this is not true, how do you know?

      • they say that anything labeled as Trader Joe’s is non GMO. They sell brands of things that might or might not be GMO free, but the Trader Joe label implies GMO free. WIth meat, even with a TJ label, to make sure it is GMO free, make sure that it says Organic.

  64. Kelly, I just stopped at the grocery store and looked at several brands of chocolate and white chocolate chips. The Ghirardelli “choc-au-lait” white chocolate chips had partially hydrogenated oil in them, sorry to say. Another brand (sorry I forget which) had nonfat dry milk in them. I’d be very suspicious of any white chocolate (as well as regular chocolate) without seeing the ingredients label first.

    • Jeanmarie,

      Thank you for the good reminder to KEEP checking labels, even if you’re buying the same brand as always! :)


  65. Last time I checked, Trader Joe’s were made from Callebaut chocolate which has fair working standards and also happens to be a high-quality confectionary chocolate! And they are cheap. When I can’t get Trader Joe’s, I usually buy Ghirardelli or organic. Thanks for this informative post!

  66. I used to love Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. I still think they’re the best tasting on the market. But I’m trying to purge my diet of GMOs, and until I’m sure they’re non-GMO, I sadly have to stop buying them.

    Safeway has an organic brand, O. That’s the name of it. O. Their semisweet chocolate chips contain “organic sugar, organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic soya lecithin.”

    I grow my own organic vegetables, but it wasn’t until this year that it occurred to me to wonder where the seed comes from. I looked it up on the Net, and a lot of the seed companies I’ve been buying from are in bed with Monsanto.

    Buying organic is expensive, but I figure it’s better to spend a little more money now than a lot of money on health care in my later years. I’ve read up on the health problems that GMOs cause. If anyone’s interested in more details, read “Seeds of Deception” by Jeffrey Smith.

  67. Wow, thanks for sharing. It just goes to show that we need to be careful about everything that we consume. I get organic chocolate chips out of the bins at my local health food store and I find that they are not as pricey as the fancy bagged organic ones.

  68. “Enjoy life” is a brand of soy-free chocolate chips. They are available at whole foods and a few other retailers. I believe they have a search tool on their website to locate a retailer. They are gmo free of course, and delicious!

  69. Just a reminder that “organic” does not necessarily mean non-GMO. For instance, cheese can be made with all organic ingredients, but the cows they get the milk from were most likely fed GMO corn and soy.

    • if the cows were fed GMO corn and soy than it is not organic unless the corn and soy are organically grown, and what are the odds of that? people that grow GMO
      “food” are not concerned with organic, and people that grow organic food would not use GMO plants. organic has to be pure from the bottom up in order to be labeled “organic”. the soil, has to be organic, the animals have to have eaten organic plants, grown on organic soil with no chemical pesticides. cheese is made from milk and cream, and cured in different ways. in order for cheese to be called organic, the cows must eat organic food.

  70. The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.

  71. I stopped buying the Nestle CC’s because I have to eliminate dairy from my diet – didn’t realize they were huge into GMO, but that may have just been me turning a blind eye because I loved the CC’s so much! I’ve been buying the CC from Trader Joe’s – very reasonably priced (around $2 for 12 oz, I think) and the taste is SOOO much better than Nestle! I would love to find a good recipe for homemade chocolate chips/chunks that includes cocoa butter, but not coconut oil (I love the stuff, but the chocolate doesn’t hold up for baking since coconut oil melts so easily). Any suggestions?

  72. Please don’t believe all Trader Joe’s products are non-GMO’s. They do not , and cannot verify that. Check out Food Babe blog and her investigation of Trader Joe’s. My husband worked there, and after learning more about it, we did not buy anything from them.

    • This is Trader Joes statement about their products:
      They are saying that not all of their products are non-GMO, but the ones with the Trader Joe’s label are, except the meat. I also have friends that work there who believe this. Trader Joe’s states that if there is not a Trader Joes label on a product that they sell, then it is GMO, if their label is on it, it is not, again except the meat They are not proclaiming that everything that they sell in non GMO. I will check out the Food Babe Blog mentioned above, jus wanted to post the link to Trader Joe’s statement about their food

  73. If the soy lecithin is not labeled organic it IS GMO. If Trader Joe’s label was GMO they would put it in writing on the label. They are a business not your friend.

  74. If the soy lecithin is not labeled organic it IS GMO. If Trader Joe’s label was NON-GMO they would put it in writing on their label. They are a business not your friend.

    • I just spoke to Trader Joe’s Corporate who said that the soy lecithin in their chocolate is not organic but it is not GMO. They sourced out a non GMO lecithin which does not happen to be organic. They are aware that there are not too many sources of NON GMO products left that are not organic but they do exist and they found one. That is entirely possible. I don’t see why they would be deceptive about this when they openly admit that do carry some GMO products.

  75. I’m with you on the Soy Lecithin. But on another note, they have an explanation in the link that I posted as to why they don’t use the GMO free label on their GMO free products. They say that the TJ’s brand automatically implies GMO free, but not everything in the store is their brand. They go into it a little more than that. Next time I am in there I will investigate the chocolate chips,, because you have a point about the soy.

  76. It would be great if TJ put the non gmo label on their foods. I know it has been their policy since they got into business to not use gmo in their products and they continue to follow this. Any product with their label is non gmo. Not organic , but non gmo. There is a difference! Their suppliers must sign a contract that they promise to not use any gmo. You can call the store and ask for a list of suppliers and see what they tell you, some stores may comply. It would be great if they did begin labeling, but for now I steer clear of any products with soy or canola or corn. EVEN if it has a TJ label on it.

  77. I just discovered that Guittard makes chocolate chips with Sunflower lecithin. There is no soy in these, so I feel they are safe. They are not organic, but there is no soy. The list of ingredients are: sugar, cacao beans, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin, and real vanilla. They are delicious too!!! I bought them at HEB in Texas.

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