According to the National Action Against Obesity the girl scouts who peddle cookies each spring get 40 to 60 cents from each box sold. Roughly ten percent of each sale. Ask any mother whose living room has been taken over by boxes of cookies, any father who’s had to drag their daughter into work with a cookie order form, if that’s worth it. The Girl Scouts of America assert that 12% to 17% of each sale goes to the troop. At $4 a box that’s between 48 cents and 68 cents per box sold.
I know that looks impressive until you scroll down and see this.
I love Girl Scouts. My Mother was a Girl Scout, her Mother was the Troop Leader, but the Girl Scouts have been setting a terrible precedent. They’re asking young girls and their mothers to endlessly solicit from friends and family without adequately compensating them. If we’re raising our girls to be strong, let’s also raise them to be clever capitalists.
Okay Jessica, but what does this have to do with a sustainable lifestyle?
Glad you asked. According the Girl Scouts of America each and every cookie variety contains partially hydrogenated oils. If you are unfamiliar with the risk associated with partially hydrogenated oils please read one of these:
- Trans fat: Avoid this cholesterol double whammy
- Restricting trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply
Further, and most infuriating is this snippet from their website:
Q: Are any preservatives used in Girl Scout Cookies?
A: No. Girl Scout Cookies do not contain preservatives. They are all made with pure vegetable shortening, are kosher, and freeze well to extend their shelf life.
I present to you a Girl Scout cookie nutritional label.
The partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil is enhanced with TBHQ for freshness.
What is TBHQ?
If TBHQ adds freshness, isn’t that by definition a preservative?
According to the World Health Organization TBHQ caused no deaths in dogs (congratulations!) and only slight discoloration of basal cells in rats. There appears to be a positive association with lymphoma in mice, but that doesn’t seem to alarm the Girl Scouts, as they tout their cookies as preservative free!
Folks, if you want cookies, bake them or buy them, I don’t care, but if the shelf life is longer than your pet goldfish, it’s not food.
If you think your local Girl Scouts are adorable (and I do) drop $1 in the jar and leave the cookies behind. They’ll make more money that way anyhow, and you don’t even have to worry about what’s gone into your body.
[This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]