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Cookie monster

(article, Caroline Cummins)

It's that time of year again, those precious few months (generally January through April) when the Girl Scouts hit the streets, homes, and offices of America with their coveted boxes of cookies.

Jonesing for some Thin Mints? Craving some Samoas? In November, the Girl Scouts announced that their popular cookies were going trans-fat free. So now you can enjoy your sugar snack without worrying that you're clogging your arteries with chemical fats, right?

[%image label size=large float=right caption="Thin Mints?"]

Maybe. According to the cookie FAQ page on the Girl Scouts' website, all the cookies are made with "pure vegetable shortening." What does that mean? Read the ingredients list on a box of Peanut Butter Patties and it's defined as "palm, partially hydrogenated palm kernel, soybean, and/or cottonseed oils."

Hm. "Partially hydrogenated" means, in a palm-nutshell, trans fats. So how are the cookies classified as trans-fat free? The Girl Scouts explain: "This year all varieties will contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, which meets or exceeds the FDA guidelines for the 'zero trans fat' designation."

Care to find out more? Both bakery companies hired by the Scouts to produce cookies, ABC/Interbake Foods and Little Brownie Bakers, list ingredients and nutrition labels for all the cookies they make. 

Here's hoping the Girl Scouts themselves don't munch too many Trefoils and Tagalongs.

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