Girl Guide cookies: trans fat holdout

So you'd think by now all the seats would've been abandoned on the trans fat bandwagon. Nope. Not quite.

Ever since family-owned Voortman cookies announced in November 2003 that it would get rid of trans fatty acids in its cookies just about every other maker of snack foods said it would do the same.

The list is no longer who's getting rid of the artery-clogging gunk, but it's down to a fairly short list of who hasn't. And a Canadian tradition figures far too prominently on that list.

Yes, those cookies that parents are forced to flog at the office for their Girl Guide daughters still contain trans fats. You'd think that at four bucks a box, the movement that teaches our daughters to be responsible citizens and the leaders of tomorrow could find a less unhealthy — but just as addictive — cookie.

American Girl Scouts have seen the light. Their just-as-famous cookies — all eight types — are produced by two cookie manufacturers. Each has found a way to make yummy cookies without trans fats.

In Canada, the Girl Guide cookie contract was handed to family-owned Dare Foods in 2002. A year later, Dare did make a breakthrough on one front: the company became one of the first major food manufacturers in North America to declare its facilities peanut-free. It has since managed to find ways to get rid of trans fats in some of its products — like Breton crackers and Bear Paw cookies.

But no luck with the Girl Guide cookies.

Girl Guides of Canada says it's aware of the problem of trans fats. But they don't appear to be in a rush to do anything about it.

"Girl Guide cookies are the major fundraiser for Girl Guides of Canada, and reformulating Girl Guide cookies is a lengthy, expensive and complicated process that will divert valuable time and resources from the girl members who benefit from our not-for-profit organization."

I've scarfed down my share of Girl Guide cookies in my day (hate the mint ones, like the vanilla as much as the chocolate), and my living room was once a veritable cookie storage vault one year. And I'll be hit for a few boxes from my niece come March.

Girl Guides of Canada recently launched its Girls need Guides campaign to attract new members. It's designed to get the message to girls that they need Guides so they can escape the pressures of trying to be thin, of growing up faster and pretending to be something they're not.

All worthwhile goals. So is selling a cookie that's more in tune with the nutritional times.