Saturday, December 3, 2011

Girl Scout Cookie Rally

Can you believe it's almost that time again?  Abigail is attending a Girl Scout Cookie Rally this morning where the girls will play games, do a craft and sample cookies all for the purpose of getting excited about selling them.  So, here I am, early this morning looking up the ingredients of each of the cookies to see which ones she can sample and which ones she'll have to skip.

There are two cookie manufacturers that provide cookies for the Girl Scouts.  In our region, it's Little Brownie Bakers.  Other areas of the country get cookies from ABC Bakers.  Both have excellent allergen labeling policies.  If you are concerned about peanut/tree nut ingredients and the risk of cross-contamination, you'll need to know which bakery supplies your cookies and/or double check the labeling on the box.  At Little Brownie Bakeries, the Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils and the Thank U BerryMuch cookies are safe for peanuts and tree nuts.  The Dulce de Leche and the new Savannah Smiles may contain traces of tree nuts, and of course, the Tagalongs and the Do-si-dos are not safe for either.  It looks like ABC Bakers has just 3 cookies that are safe which are Thin Mints, Thanks-a-Lot and the Lemonades.  That's a bummer!  At least the Thin Mints are safe!

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of my daughter selling Girl Scout cookies.  However, I do love her being a part of the organization, and we've found a really great Brownie troop in the new area where we live.  I was pleased to find out that her new troop is selling cookies to raise money to go on a mother/daughter trip when they're in 5th grade.  That gives them 4 years (the other girls started working towards it last year) to raise the money to spend a long weekend in Savannah, the birthplace of Girl Scouts.  So, I'll be out there in the cold with Abigail the first of January while she rings doorbells asking if anyone wants to buy Girl Scout cookies.  And, I'll even buy a box...or two.


Kira Morehouse said...

I like your blog! Just came across it because I like to keep an eye on any mentions regarding peanut allergies, as they show up via Google alerts. I just want to mention that some Girl Scout cookies are safe for people with nut and peanut allergies. However, it is important to keep in mind that all of them are made in shared facilities with nuts and peanuts. Research has found 6.5% clinically significant cross-contamination in products made in shared facilities with peanuts.

Carrie said...

Just found your blog and will continue to follow...thanks!

Also, to Kira, while that may be true, it's nice to know that the company that produces the cookies (ABC in our area) goes to such great lengths to educate themselves (and taking necessary steps) therefore opening up the variety of products those with food allergies can have. Not many companies can take pride in doing what this company has:

"Over a decade ago, ABC partnered with Food Allergen and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) to learn more about life threatening food allergies and the impact of ingredient labeling and allergen warnings. We have also worked with the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program in association with the University of Nebraska to review our sanitation, handling and training procedures. Prior to FDA guidelines requiring labeling for potential allergens, ABC adapted what is known as "product specific" allergen labeling. Product specific labeling enables the allergy-affected consumer to make an informed decision based on information specific to that particular product. While broad "across the line" statements such as "this product may contain traces of peanuts" meets the current FDA requirements, it is limiting to the increasing number of allergy sufferers across the country.

Product specific labeling requires strict compliance to good manufacturing practices to prevent cross contamination such as:
Segregation of known allergens from the general production environment
Color-coding of storage units and utensils
Color-coding of employee uniforms
Curtained off production areas
Designated lanes for transportation of known allergens
Swabbing and testing of allergen shared equipment
In addition, we call out all allergens on our packaging and order cards and provide specific warning if a product is made on a line that also produces product with a common allergen such as peanuts. ABC's proactive approach to allergens is an example of our commitment to producing the best quality Girl Scout Cookies possible for the millions of valued consumers who support Girl Scouting every year.

Excerpt of email from consumer and Girl Scout mom:

"ABC is wonderful and has taken the time to implement safe manufacturing processes to protect children with food allergies. When I called last year, they were happy to answer questions and explain about their manufacturing process and safe dedicated lines. It is very hurtful to food allergic families when companies would rather make the statement "may contain traces of..." rather than illuminate the problem of cross contamination. We would be happy to represent a company like ABC that has taken a leadership role in safe manufacturing." "