Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don't Buy Girl Guides of Canada Cookies

A patient of mine just brought in a box of Girl Guide of Canada cookies that her daughter is selling.

I'm frankly gob-smacked that according to the nutrition facts label there are still 1.5grams of trans-fats in 3 of these teeny weeny cookies.

Girl Guides of Canada are quite aware of this. In fact in their cookie FAQ on their website they state,

"Girl Guides of Canada is aware of health issues surrounding particular processed foods, including cookies, and is committed to maintaining the quality of Girl Guide cookies while keeping these concerns in mind.

Currently, saturated fats are the only viable alternative to trans fats in biscuit-type foods and any reformulation in the trans fat levels of Girl Guide cookies will result in a different taste and texture. GGC is currently investigating reformulation options. All options will be examined to ensure that Girl Guide cookies maintain the taste, texture and freshness consumers expect and enjoy, as well as a nutrition profile that adheres to new regulations
Did they really just try to sell me on a rationale that states there's simply no way to remove trans-fat from cookies without ruining their taste and texture?

I guess there are no cookies at all in Denmark (where the country is wholly trans-fat free), or at least no cookies that taste good or have good texture.

Makes me wonder too how Voortman's managed to remove trans fat from every single cookie product they make.

Now I'm not knocking cookies. Cookies are one of life's pleasures. I'm not knocking Girl Guides, they do great work. What I'm knocking is Girl Guides clearly irresponsible laziness in not insisting that trans-fats be immediately removed from their cookies.

If this ticks you off at all, feel free to write Girl Guides of Canada, but since we know from their FAQ that they already know about your concerns, I'd suggest that until they're addressed, you simply stop buying Girl Guide Cookies.

Contact information for Girl Guides of Canada:

To send Girl Guides of Canada an email, click here

or you can mail or call them at:

Girl Guides of Canada National Office
50 Merton Street
Toronto, ON M4S 1A3
Phone: 416-487-5281
Fax: 416-487-5570


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  1. Brian9:11 am

    I've got a thousand Canadian dollars that says this whole trans fat panic will turn out to be nothing when all the research is in, ten years down the line. Trans fat is as bad as sat fat, no better, no worse. The studies that have suggested otherwise at this point are pretty preliminary and flakey. The MSG and HFCS panics took a similar trajectory.

  2. kristy9:40 am

    Have you ever noticed that the saturated fat content of your favourite cookie has increased since it became trans fat free?

    It is no secret how most manufacturers of baked goods have removed trans fat from their products - they have increased saturated fat. To maintain the specific taste, texture and mouthfeel of most baked goods, it is necessary to use a solid fat. Liquid oil just will not produce the same results. So, companies have removed partially hydrogenated oils and added tropical oils back in (palm, palm kernel). These are highly saturated vegetable oils.

    There is palm and/or palm kernel oil in all of Voortman's cookies.

    Is this really much better?

  3. Not a good recipe for growing girls. I posted about this in April, and a bunch of people emailed the company but it doesn't seem to have changed things. The March-June sandwich cookies contain trans fats too.

    They say they must increase the saturated fat, which of course sounds like something we don't want to do, but what they mean is they would replace the trans fat (the cheapest) with saturated fat (thus technically increasing it). But while saturated fat raises both your good and bad cholesterol, trans fats raise the bad while lowering the good. A 2% increase in consumption of trans fat (about a teaspoon a day) translates into a 20% increase in risk of heart disease.

    Dare Foods Ltd. makes the cookies. What I find interesting is that their Simple Pleasures cookies - including the chocolate ones - contain no trans fats, so it is possible. My guess is that it's (as always) a cost issue, that they can make them cheaply and don't have to worry about what's in them because the marketing angle is the adorable kids coming to your door raising money for the Girl Guides. Who is going to say no, or bother reading the label?

  4. Fund raising cookies and candies are usually bought from the cheapest suppliers. That means that you get the most unhealthy crap being sold at the highest prices. That is how fundraising profits are maximized. Support the Scouts and give the cookies to people that you don't like.

  5. Have you read Fat Land by Greg Critser? Fascinating look into the obesity epidemic.

  6. Dear Dare Cookies:

    Please note that my family will not be purchasing ANY Dare products until Canadian Girl Guide cookies are transfat free.

    Sincerely: Paula Moffatt

    This is the simple note that I recently emailed to Dare.

    After perusing the internet, giving it some late night thought and phoning Girl Guides Canada, I realized that Girl Guides Organization is either unable or unwilling to lower their trans fat content in their cookies until required to do so by law.

    This is too bad, really as, had they been able to respond to the pleas from parents, guiders, members of the public, and concerned national health care organizations, they could have shown their concern for others, and their ability to show leadership in problem solving. Yes Girl Guides does good things for girls, but selling transfats to the families of those girls isn’t one of them!!!!

    A quick wiki look at trans fats will tell you that they do kill people and that no amount of trans fat is considered safe. There is ample evidence that they cause death from cardiac disease, and they are implicated in other negative health consequences as well.

    The truth is, though, that we have no idea what kind of binding cookie contracts Girl Guides may be involved in. I suspect that both Girl Guides and Dare hold some of the power cards in terms of making changes to the cookie recipe.
    I would like them to think about that.

    I hope to see some reasonable fundraiser from those usually creative people at Girl Guides Canada soon.

    Paula Moffatt

  7. Yvette5:50 pm

    Who cares, just don't eat the whole box in one day, have some self control for crying out loud! Anytime you go out for dinner you have no idea what you're eating and I bet it's worse than 3 measly girl guide cookies.

    As long as you're healthy overall don't sweat the small stuff, live life.

  8. Anonymous7:19 pm

    What a waste of breath this article is. At least it's a great way to discredit a wonderful organization that empowers girls and women.

    I for one am not giving into this hapless fearmongering and am purchasing a case right now.

  9. Anonymous5:48 pm

    Once a year you get to buy the delicious mint cookies. How many times a year do you people who are complaining go to McDonald's and Burger King and eat fast food? For those like me who love once a year buying these delicious cookies, I don't eat fast food, and when I do it's pretty rare, so I like to indulge in things like these cookies. So relax like Yvette said, have some self control and have a treat like this once in a while. Everything in this world is bad for you, take it all in moderation and be healthy and you will be just fine.