It’s Girl Scout Cookie time here for the Girl Scouts of Western New York… and I have to tell my adorable little brand-new Daisy Scout that she will not be participating in this time-honored Girl Scout tradition.
There will be disappointment.
There may even be tears.
But I believe that to participate in this year’s Girl Scout Cookie sale would be a fundamental violation of the Girl Scout Promise, and the Girl Scout Law.
Because every single Girl Scout Cookie available for sale this year contains GMOs (or Genetically Modified Organisms)… with the possible exception of the Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread. And, what’s worse, the Girl Scout’s official policy seems to be that so long as people continue to buy the cookies, they don’t care. Indeed, the Girl Scouts provide this almost flippant response to the question: Are their GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?
Girl Scouts of the USA listens to our customers and we work with our trusted bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies while simultaneously addressing industry trends, scientific trends, and of course, consumer preference. As an organization, we continue to defer to required Federal guidelines as they relate to our products.
At the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies. Our bakers determine whether to use GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on the specific cookie recipe.
(From the Girl Scouts’ Website); emphasis mine
Furthermore, the bakers licensed by the Girl Scouts to provide the cookies (for the Western New York Council this year), ABC Bakers state:
Yes. We embrace quality manufacturing processes and ingredients. ABC Bakers uses conventional ingredients in the production of all our products, including Girl Scout Cookies and other nationally and regionally branded cookies and crackers. However, since we do not control all phases of ingredients productions (farming, processing and delivery) it is not possible for us to guarantee that any products produced are free of Genetically Modified materials.
(From the ABC Bakers Website)
Little Brownie Bakers, which is the other licensed Girl Scout Cookie manufacturer also uses GMOs in their cookies. It should be noted that Little Brownie Bakers are a subsidiary of Keebler, which is owned by Kelloggs. Kelloggs is a leader in the campaign against labeling GMOs.
GMOs are dangerous
Despite the claims of the Girl Scouts and other invested GMO producers and sellers, GMOs, are dangerous. GMOs do not belong in any food, and especially not Girl Scout Cookies. Children are some of the most susceptible to the hazards caused by GMOs, and yet our daughters, the most adorable and innocent of salespeople, are supposed to peddle these cookies to their friends, family, and neighbors.
Not my little Daisy Scout, thank you very much!
GMOs have never been proven safe. Indeed, before they were approved for use in food the FDA’s own scientists warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems.
Studies show alarming and dangerous consequences to eating GMOs including, among others:
- Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
- By the third generation, most GM-fed hamsters had lost the ability to have babies
- Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK soon after GM soy was introduced
There is no way that selling cookies made with ingredients like these can possibly be considered “honest.”
GMOs also pose extreme dangers to the environment.
- Pesticide producing plants (like Bt corn and Bt cotton) contaminate streams and rivers, possibly harming aquatic life
- Many GMOs can cross pollinate and destroy other farmers’ crops. Almost all heritage varieties of corn in Mexico show some contamination
- GMOs that are “Roundup Ready” are linked to the development of superweeds and GMOs may be responsible for the deaths of millions of bees and butterflies (and other beneficial insects), as well as the development of some antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Furthermore, there are the dangers of Roundup, and other herbicides and pesticides, which are used with the GMO crops. The active ingredient in Roundup (glyphosate) is known to kill human cells (especially embryonic cells, leading to birth defects), it is a hormone disruptor, carcinogenic, and can cause toxicity of the liver and kidneys. Roundup is sprayed directly on our food, and it can be found in air and water samples, and in the blood and urine of people, anywhere “Roundup Ready” crops are grown.
Growing these crops–and providing a market for them by selling products containing them–can hardly be considered to be “using resources wisely.”
The Girl Scout’s Parents Guide to Cookies asks:
What can a girl do?
The answer is:
Change the World
I had assumed that they meant change the world for the better. But, given their stance on GMOs, maybe I am wrong.
The Girl Scouts are in a unique position to make a stand about GMOs in our food and on our planet. Instead they have chosen to teach their little entrepreneurs to place profits above principles.
That is not something I want my little Daisy Scout to learn. Ever.
So she will not be selling Girl Scout Cookies this year. Or next year, unless the Girl Scouts change their stance on GMOs.
And she will probably cry when the other girls are getting their cookie sale badges and their cute little “Change the World” red panda stuffed animals. (I might cry, too.) But I want her to learn that “courageous and strong” and “be responsible for what I say and do” are not just random words recited at Girl Scout Meetings. They are part of the way I want her to live.
Maybe I’ll get her a patch that say “conscientious objector” or one with Gandi’s famous words: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
How can you help?
- Do not participate in selling or purchasing Girl Scout Cookies. And tell the Girl Scouts why. You can contact the Girl Scouts HERE.
- Sign the Girl Scouts: Please make cookies without GMOs Change.org Petition HERE.
- If you wish to support the Girl Scouts, consider making a monetary donation to your local troop instead of purchasing cookies.
Learn more about the dangers of GMOs
Update 2-3-14: Do you want to know what the Girl Scout’s response has been? Click here.
Update for the 2015 Cookie Season:
Girl Scout Cookies still contain GMOs and the Girl Scouts seem to be firmly committed to keeping them there. Their response to the question, “Do Girl Scout Cookies contain GMOs?” has changed slightly and the new wording is reflected in the article above.
Young Girl Scout, Alicia Serratos’s Girl Scouts: Please make cookies without GMOs Change. org Petition has collected over 35,000 signatures and in September 2014, Alicia traveled from California to New York to deliver the petition in person. The Girl Scouts canceled the scheduled a meeting, refused to allow her entry into the building, and she was forced stand on a New York City sidewalk to hand over her petition to a Girl Scouts representative. (Be sure to support Alicia through her Facebook Page, and the GMO Free Girl Scout Cookies website.
The Pixie misses being a Girl Scout, and wishes she could do fun activities with her friends. But she does not wish to remain silent on her views about GMOs — a condition of her returning to Girl Scouting.
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