So what message do Girl Scout cookies send to the Girl Scouts? To find out, I looked up the ingredients in their range of cookies. This is what I found: For starters, they all—Lemon Chalet Cremes, Trefoils, Do-si-dos, Samoas, Dulce de Leches, Thank You Berry Munch, Tagalongs, and Thin Mints—contain palm oil. Palm oil, cultivated in the forests of Indonesia, has been added to the U.S. Department of Labor’s list of goods produced by child labor and forced labor.
The International Labor Rights Forum is spreading the word about slave labor on palm oil plantations with the message, “Don’t Let Cargill Profit from Slave or Child Labor in Palm Oil.” Cargill’s recent annual revenues soared to over $120 billion, with palm oil being one of the company’s most important commodities. Meanwhile, underage children and indentured laborers are working in Indonesia’s palm oil industry for less than 40 cents a day for back-breaking work clearing forests and spraying pesticides. Some recent slave laborers escaped and said they hadn’t been paid a penny for months. By the way, those forests they are clearing are some of the last habitat for orangutans. According to AllAboutWildlife, “Human encroachment on the Indonesian rainforests is pushing the orangutan ever closer to extinction in the wild. The Sumatran species (Pongo abelii) is listed as Critically Endangered, with only 7,000 of the animals remaining in a patchwork of forestland that is fast disappearing due to logging and the replacement of native trees with vast plantations of oil palms.” Now there’s a lesson for the Girl Scouts. Their cookies are helping to eradicate one of the world’s most advanced animals, orangutans, apes who are smart enough to make themselves hats of leaves to protect themselves from the rain. As you may know, trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are both implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease.
They are formed when fats are either entirely or partially hydrogenated—that is, hydrogen gas in bubbled through them to make them into hard fats that help stabilize baked goods like cookies. Here’s the rundown, from the cookie labels: Do-si-dos contain “hydrogenated rapeseed, cottonseed, and/or palm oil,” and yet the label claims 0 grams of trans fatty acids. Now, how can that be, since hydrogenating fats creates trans fatty acids? Samoas contain “partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil or cottonseed oil,” yet the label claims they contain no trans fatty acids. Two cookies will give you 6 grams of saturated fat, however, 30 percent of your daily limit. Tagalongs and Thin Mints also contain hydrogenated fats but also claim zero trans fatty acids. According to the Organic Trade Association, “Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Cotton covers 2.5 percent of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16 percent of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop. Aldicarb, parathion, and methamidophos, three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides to human health as determined by the World Health Organization, rank in the top 10 most commonly used in cotton production. All but one of the remaining seven most commonly used are classified as moderately to highly hazardous. Aldicarb, cotton’s second best selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin, yet it is still used in 25 countries and the U.S., where 16 states have reported it in their groundwater. Well, lots of corn products, including corn starch and high fructose corn syrup. has been genetically altered to include a gene from bacteria that produce a pesticide. This corn, with a pesticide factory built into every one of its cells, has created evolutionary pressure resulting in the emergence of pesticide-resistant insects that severely damage the corn crop in the U.S. What’s worse, when we eat the products of this GMO corn, the genes that create the pesticide can migrate from the corn cells into our intestinal bacteria, so that we become living, walking pesticide factories. Carey Polis, writing in the Huffington Post, takes a good look at this cookie under the headline, “Mango Crème Girl Scout Cookies Boast Questionable ‘NutriFusion’ Ingredient.” What is NutriFusion? It is a combination of palm oil with extractions of “cranberry, pomegranate, orange, grape, strawberry, and skiitake mushrooms,” Polis says. There ain’t any, which prompted the Jezebel website to call the Mango Crème cookie, “bullshit.” Oh, and there are lots of soy products in these cookies, too. Do you know that almost 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. today have been genetically modified to resist injury from glyphosate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup. Since the introduction of so-called “Roundup Ready” crops in 1996, herbicide use in the U.S.
sampled hundreds of streams in the Midwest and found herbicide or its degradation products in 70 percent of the streams tested. Such heavy use of herbicide has another consequence: nature has responded to this assault by producing herbicide-resistant “super weeds” that are now plaguing soy and corn farms in America’s heartland. Do the Girl Scouts teach this when they hand out the cookies for the girls to sell? You’ll also find artificial food dyes like yellow #5 lake, yellow #6 lake, blue #2 lake and artificial flavors (read chemical compounds created in factories) used in one or another of the cookies. I just wish the Girl Scouts of America would decide to send their girls a message about wholesome, organically grown food. And take the chemicals, dyes, health-threatening fats produced using child and slave labor, and environmentally destructive palm farms that threaten our close relatives, the sweet and gentle orangutans, out of their cookies. Maybe, unlike the indefensible homophobes over at the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts could then proudly sell their cookies instead of mocking the simple question, “Are these organic?” 7 Healthy Homemade Copycat Girl Scout Cookie Recipes. Let's face it, Girl Scout cookies are freaking delicious. but they're also full of unhealthy junk ingredients like corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial coloring.
They're kind of failing on that "strong bodies" part of the slogan. I have an easy excuse not to buy Girl Scout cookies since I'm gluten-free, but I do miss the Thin Mints. If you can't have Girl Scout cookies due to dietary restrictions or just don't want to eat the yucky ingredients, try our seven healthy homemade copycat Girl Scout cookie recipes. Thin Mints: Heidi at 101 Cookbooks makes this fantastic, weird ingredient-free, all-natural thin mint.