I remember being a Brownie. To me, selling Girl Scout cookies was kind of intimidating. I didn’t like going door to door and asking people to buy things. There wasn’t any opportunity to set up a stand with friends in my town. I might have been braver in that case: you know, power in numbers.
As an adult, I want to support those adorable, little Girl Scouts who are sometimes nervous just like I was. Which is why I hate having to say no due to food allergies issues.
So, I did a little research in the hopes that it helps you all make good decisions and allows you to support your local Brownies and Girl Scouts… by buying delicious cookies! Now that I’m armed with some information, our family may try some ourselves this year!
Girl Scout cookies are made by one of two manufacturers: ABC Smart Cookies or Little Brownie Bakers. To find out which manufacturer bakes your local Girl Scout cookies, you must contact your local council: locate your council here.
While Little Brownie Bakers do not list ingredients lists for their cookies on their website, their allergen statement looks thorough. All it should take is a quick peruse of the ingredient list on the box to determine whether the box is safe for your family. Here’s their allergen statement:
The allergen statement clearly states the top 8 allergens contained inside each package. We encourage consumers with food allergies to check the ingredient statement on each package for the most current ingredient information because product formulations can change at any time.
If the allergen in concern is not listed below the ingredient statement, we are confident that the product is safe for consumption. Please trust the labeling. We do use a may contain statement for peanuts and tree nuts when the product is produced on a line that shares equipment with another product that does contain peanuts or tree nuts. Scientific evidence has shown that consumers with peanut and tree nut allergies can have a severe reaction to amounts that are below the current detectable limits based on existing technology.
For this reason, we have chosen to warn consumers allergic to peanuts and tree nuts of the potential for extremely low levels by using a may contain statement. The equipment is thoroughly cleaned in between processes and we follow Good Manufacturing Practices in all of our facilities. Beyond the top eight allergens, all ingredients are declared within the ingredient statement. If you are concerned about a specific ingredient, please review the ingredient statement to determine if it is part of the product formulation.
ABC Smart Cookies, the Girl Scout’s other cookie manufacturer, also seems food allergy savvy. They produce gluten-free cookies in a certified gluten-free facility and have a well-educated allergen statement which reads:
Over a decade ago, ABC partnered with Food Allergy & 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 and Resource Program in association with the University of Nebraska to review our sanitation, handling, and training procedures. ABC adopted 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.
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
- 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, order cards and web site 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.
A quick review of ingredients show that all of the cookies were egg-free; Thin Mints, Cranberry Citrus Crisps, Lemonades, and Thanks-a-Lots are nut-free; several were vegan and therefore dairy-free; and at least one variety was gluten-free. Check out their sites and I think you’ll find, like I did, that Girl Scout cookies are far more food allergy-friendly than you think! Now, get out there and say YES! to some Girl Scouts. You’ll make their day!