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INGREDIENTS

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud that all Girl Scout Cookies have "zero trans fat per serving," with the same great taste that has made them one of America's favorite treats over the years. All varieties contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, which meets the FDA guidelines for the "zero trans fat" designation. Selected varieties can claim 100 percent trans fat–free status, meaning there's not a speck of trans fat in the whole package.

Our licensed bakers use a variety of ingredients in the production of Girl Scout Cookies, including, in some cookies, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Currently, Little Brownie Bakers does not use HFCS in any of its cookie varieties. We trust our 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 developments, and of course, consumer preference.

Palm oil is an ingredient found in the majority of baked snacks sold in the United States. GSUSA's licensed bakers informed us it is necessary to use palm oil in our cookies for the sake of shelf life, to offer customers the highest quality in taste and appearance, and to serve as an alternative to trans fats. One of the primary goals of our Girl Scout Cookie bakers is to create the best-tasting cookies possible using the healthiest ingredients available.

The world's food supply is intricately tied to the use of palm oil, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Cookie development. At Girl Scouts, we have an opportunity to use our strong voice to bring about positive change on this very important issue, and our bakers have made the following commitments:

  •  GSUSA and our licensed bakers are members of—and our bakers source palm oil exclusively from—the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists, and other interested parties striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure sustainability.
  • Since 2012, our licensed bakers have made a substantial investment in GreenPalm certificates. Certificates purchased by our bakers covered 100 percent of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies. These certificates offer a premium price to palm oil producers operating in accordance with the guidelines for social, environmental, and economic responsibility set by the RSPO.
  • Our licensed bakers joined other industry leaders in making a pledge to move to a segregated, certified-sustainable palm oil source, based on market availability.
  • Our licensed bakers are committed to using as little palm oil as possible in Girl Scout Cookies and have committed to continuing to research viable alternatives. Please visit www.littlebrownie.com or www.abcsmartcookies.com to read more about our bakers' positions on palm oil.

American palm oil use represents approximately 2 percent of total global consumption, and palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies represents a tiny fraction of that. Thanks to the encouragement of and partnership with Girl Scout members, we and our bakers have realized the power of the Girl Scout brand to make a positive difference in the move toward sustainably produced palm oil.

The GreenPalm logo on Girl Scout Cookie packages signifies a commitment by our licensed bakers to developing a worldwide supply of sustainable palm oil. (Unfortunately, we have not been able to assure a fully sustainable supply in the quantities required by our bakers.) GreenPalm investment supports farmers' initiatives to become sustainable, and the presence of the logo on cookie packages ensures consumers and Girl Scout members that our bakers have purchased enough GreenPalm “certificates” to offset 100 percent of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies. Visit www.greenpalm.org to learn more about these certificates.

One of our bakers uses an RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) logo on its cookie packages. This is the result of this baker shifting to the Mass Balance System, a progression from the previous GreenPalm system. The RSPO logo signifies that this baker has “contributed to the production of certified sustainable palm oil.” In order to use that logo, this bakery was audited by the RSPO to ensure its compliance with the RSPO criteria. Visit www.greenpalm.org to learn more about RSPO.

Yes. Sustainability refers to social, environmental, and economic factors that an organization addresses to provide value not only to consumers, but also to the world. Girl Scouts is very proud of the initiatives our licensed bakers report on annually in terms of their corporate sustainability and social responsibility. The Girl Scout commitment to "make the world a better place" is a tenet we and our licensed bakers take very seriously.

Our licensed cookie bakers are actively working with their suppliers to ensure that the cocoa used in Girl Scout Cookies is responsibly sourced. Our bakers are required to provide assurance that cocoa sourced for Girl Scout Cookies is child- and slave-labor free. In order to provide this assurance, our bakers require compliance from their cocoa suppliers through strict supplier codes of conduct. Our bakers are also working with third-party organizations focused on creating a sustainable marketplace that rewards cocoa farmers who prohibit unethical practices. GSUSA understands that, in spite of the best efforts of our manufacturers and the ongoing work by their suppliers, we also have a responsibility to provide leadership on the topic of slave labor and human trafficking. We are committed to using our powerful voice and brand wherever possible to affect change in this area.

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. Girl Scouts recognizes that many people have concerns regarding GMO ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter. It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.

According to the American Dietetic Association, most people with diabetes can enjoy sugars in moderation as part of their meal plans, depending on blood glucose control and body weight. We encourage consumers concerned about sugar intake to discuss dietary options with a doctor or registered dietitian. For consumer convenience, each of our licensed bakers lists dietary exchanges on the cookie package and the cookie order form, so people with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes can make informed choices. The amount of sugar and carbohydrates is also listed on the box. Dietary exchanges should always be consulted, even if a product is labeled "sugarless." With regard to labeling, terms such as "sugar free" or "sugarless" are not synonymous with "diabetic-friendly," owing to the carbohydrates.

Girl Scout Cookies are sold for a short time every year and are considered a snack or special treat. As with all treats, they should be enjoyed in moderation. Starting with our youngest members, the Girl Scout organization promotes a healthy lifestyle for girls, which includes a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Our health and fitness programs encourage girls to adopt healthy fitness and eating habits early in life and to continue them into adulthood. Girls are also taught to consider ingredients and portion size when choosing snacks. The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) released a research review entitled Weighing In: Helping Girls Be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow that addresses various underlying causes that have led to the epidemic of obesity and of being overweight among children and adolescents, and the lifestyles, culture, and behaviors that have contributed to this condition. Read more about this research review.

Girl Scout Cookies are produced only once a year and for a limited time, so our bakers generally don't achieve the volume required to support the production of specialty cookies. The demand has not been great enough to make it economically feasible; however, our bakers continue to experiment and have a commitment to ensuring there is always a "healthful" cookie in their line-up. Each of our bakers strives to use the most healthful ingredients available in the production of one of America's most treasured sweet treats. Check the labels of all the products you eat, including Girl Scout Cookies. You may just find a variety that fits within your dietary restrictions or goals.

In responding to an important consumer trend, Girl Scouts will be selling both gluten-free varieties again in the 2015–16 cookie season. The cookies are part of a limited pilot and are being offered by participating councils. For more information on Trios™ Girl Scout Cookies, visit abcsmartcookies.com, and for more information on Toffee-tastic™ Girl Scout Cookies, visit littlebrowniebakers.com.