Girl Scout cookie-selling season is upon us, but this year those
grinning children in insignia-bedecked vests are serving up their
caramelized confections and mint-chocolate morsels with a side of
In Chicago, where ordering just wound down, the Chicago Tribune reported
that the Girl Scouts' three most popular cookies--Samoas, Tagalongs,
and Thin Mints--contained "artery-clogging" partially hydrogenated oils
despite boasting of having "0
grams trans fat," which the Food and Drug Administration permits
because the amount of trans fat per serving is below 0.5 grams. The
issue, as many of us know, is that once you eat one Samoa (serving size:
two cookies), it's hard to stop. The Tribune explains that a person who
eats eight Samoas "could be taking in nearly 2 grams of trans fats--a
substance the National Academy of Science says cannot be safely
consumed in any amount."
Then we learned
from the Wall Street Journal that the recession has not spared the Girl
Scouts. To slash costs and boost profits, a handful of Girl Scout councils are
trimming their cookie roster to their six most popular varieties,
dropping more obscure options like Thank U Berry Munch and Dulce de
Leche (which--yes, really--was apparently aimed at Spanish speakers, to promote "diversity"). The Girl Scouts are
running seminars and "cookie colleges" to teach girls why the "Super
Six" pilot program makes business sense and how to make an effective
There's a lot here to chew on, so let's take reaction to these two developments one by one:
- Eliminate Trans Fats Now! demands
Sarah Parsons at Change.org. In an article entitled "Heart Disease:
Girl Scout Cookies' Secret Ingredient," she explains that trans fats
are linked to heart disease and diabetes:
The Girl Scouts claim that the organization strives to "build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place." Let's tell the Girl Scouts that taking heart unhealthy ingredients out of their cookies is one way they could "make the world a better place."
- Girl Scouts Aren't Only Ones, The Week points out,
in a guide to trans-fat labeling: "Chips Ahoy, Nilla Wafers, and Nutter
Butters, for example, also contain some partially hydrogenated oils but
claim to have zero trans fats."
- Enjoy Our Cookies in
Moderation, advises Girl Scouts spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins, as
quoted by the Tribune: "We are always looking for ways to make
healthier cookies that still appeal to our audience ... but we do know
that our girls are selling a beloved American treat that is to be
enjoyed in moderation." Tompkins did not specify the amount of trans fat in Samoas, Tagalongs, or Thin Mints. Then again, they are cookies.
- This Isn't a 'Confectionery Catastrophe', cautions
Vanity Fair's Juli Weiner: "The alterations to the snack roster are
unlikely to upset a majority of customers, as scouts are still sweet on
staples such as Thin Mints, Trefoils, and Tagalongs."
- Are They Really Retiring Flops? wonders
Yahoo's Mike Krumbholtz. To his surprise, he finds that some of the
most searched-for Girl Scout cookies on the web are varieties on the
chopping block like Shout Outs and Dulce de Leche.
- Girl Scout Cookies Are Like the Economy, reasons
Gawker's Hamilton Nolan: "It was working just fine. Then someone got
the bright idea to hugely expand it. Then it collapsed. Soon, there
will be just six kinds of Girl Scout cookies left ... Can you get by with just six different kinds of hand-peddled cookie, America? You sicken me."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.