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Friday, July 16, 2010

Trader Joe's Private-Label Revelations More Complicated Than We Thought

Posted By on Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 6:20 PM

click to enlarge Mystery solved? - SHANNON I./YELP
  • Shannon I./Yelp
  • Mystery solved?
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

In Doggy Bag last week, we pointed to an investigative post at The Faster Times, wherein Earth Island Journal managing editor Amy Westervelt looked behind some private label products at Trader Joe's and found some surprising sources. Maker of TJ's house brand pizza dough: Il Fornaio. Brewer of Joe's Vienna-style lager: Gordon Biersch. And maker of the Trader's European-style organic yogurt: Straus Family Creamery.

Or so we thought. A reader named Kathryn actually cross-checked the ingredients on Straus yogurt and the one at her Trader Joe's store and noticed they weren't the same ― there's thickener listed in the TJ's product, for instance. Today, Kathryn told me what she'd found out, after what she described as MUCH searching (caps hers). After tracking down an FDA site that lists dairy suppliers and plant codes for each state (the Interstate Milk Shippers List), she compared the data.

Turns out that the Euro-style yogurt in Kathryn's store is made, not by Straus, but by Wallaby Yogurt, which has offices in American Canyon, near Napa. "Your readers may find this useful," Kathryn wrote, "for not only TJs products but many other 'private label' dairy products as well. We deserve to know this information."

You're right, Kathryn. Nicely done.

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