Girl Guide cookies: trans fat holdout

Comments (56)
By Peter Hadzipetros

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.

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Comments (56)

Diane Tozer


I notice that the GG cookie boxes do not state
where the cookies are made. Are they imported,
and is that why it is difficult to remove the transfat ingredient.
Personally, I do not like the taste of them anymore. Also they are too highly scented.

Posted May 3, 2009 05:04 PM


I agree totally with this news article and have just sent off a letter to Girl Guides Canada. Hopefully there will be changes made in the very near future. I notice the article appeared January 2007. It is now May 2009 and there are still trans fats in the cookies. Shame!!!

Posted May 1, 2009 06:46 PM



They should not be selling these cookies with Trans fats to anyone. Especially not small children and families.

Posted October 19, 2008 07:11 PM



First of all, I can't believe the atrocious spelling/grammar/punctuation in many of these articles - especially the one from Wendy in Ottawa. That aside, buy them or don't buy them, but don't lecture the poor kids who come to your door. Oh, and if it really IS the trans fat issue that bothers you (and not that you're just a cheapskate), then just give them a loonie or two, smile and tell them to have a nice day.

Posted October 14, 2008 05:43 PM

Healthy Mom

I am teaching my daughters to read the label and eat healthy foods. This morning my 7-yr-old burst into tears after opening her carton of Girl Guide cookies and, after reading the ingredients, realizing that she could not sell the cookies her friends and family with a clear conscience. It broke my heart. I tried to convince her that it was just a snack and people could make their own decision. She refuses to sell them. What am I supposed to do now?

Posted October 8, 2008 11:43 AM

Red Apes


Trans fat is one thing but do you realize the extent of the rapid deforestation of the rain forest because of Palm oil. Logging has shrunk the orangutans habitat and are really in danger of extinction. Loggers cut down their home, kill the moms and take the babies and sell them as pets where they spend a life time of mistreatment tied to a short rope. How many millions of cookies do the Girl guides sell ? They could make an impact if they stop using tropical oils such as palm oil. The Girl Guides need to find a new fund raising idea. Girl Guide cookies are making the population fat, destroying the rain forest and killing the orangutans.

Posted October 2, 2008 01:22 PM



hi ,
re girl guide choc mint cookies
where can we buy these fabulous cookies in the stores ? or something similar ?


paul vojtek

Posted August 18, 2008 05:10 PM



It's amazing how something as simple as a cookie can polarize people. Some people vilify GGC and some laud it for it's contribution to the lives of girls and women. I wonder how many of the people vilifying GGC for selling the cookies have birthday cake, or breathe our polluted air, etc. ? Going to give up your car any time soon ?
As a Guider, when parents are asked to send a snack, we get Timbits, powdered doughnuts or cheesies. It's not often that fresh fruit or veggies arrive unless the GUIDER suggests it. We encourage and provide opportunity for physical activity, education about lifestyle choices and encourage moderation. As for our programming - it cannot be beat. I will gladly scarf down a few cookies to see the pride on a girls face when she pitches her first tent or the wonder when she goes for her first night hike. I will gladly sell those cookies to see how the girls grow and change over the years we have together and know that I am a part of that. Should GGC get the trans fat out of the cookies ? Yes. Is it going to stop me from supporting an organization that has allowed girls and women for generations to become better people ? No. Maybe those that are complaining the loudest should get out there and volunteer their time rather than slagging an organization that will hopefully continue to shape the women of the future for generations to come. If you really think that cookies have that big an influence over a family's entire eating habit, then I am frightened for the populic as a whole. I also have to wonder if more people don't need to join Guiding so they can get off their high horse and go for a hike.

Posted June 24, 2008 10:54 AM

Wendy Whitaker


I have read most of these comments,(sorry, but I did start to skim after a while) I am a guider and have three girls, next year they will be a spark, brownie and a guide.
First of all, I will assume that most of you have made cookies at home before. Now, I want you to think about your home-made cookies and how you can make them last for years in a box without going bad. What would it take. Would you still want to eat them?
SO we have become so accustomed to processed foods that how we could get our own, home made cookies to last for two years must stump most people who eat food that age and older almost daily.
Yes, these foods are killing us. Along with the plastic, the petrolum products, the soda cans and the pesticides we put on our lawns. Ok, I ment you as my family had made other choices. The North American lifestyle kills. Perhaps you know of someone who has died of cancer or who is currently battling cancer. Why is the pink ribbon society not saying a word about prevention. Why is treatment their only option. IF the lifestyle causes cancer and they only offer treatment, then they will always make money.
Trans fats are bad, girl guides of Candaa are good, why are they togeather? How do we justify down the road that we ate and fed them dangerous food in order that they could play and camp.
We talked of healthy food, occasionlly at meetings but we fed them hot dogs, sugar laden treats and McDonalds orange sugar water. Why could we not offer them bowls of fresh strawberrise, apples off the tree, nuts and dried fruits, home made icecream (cream, eggs, honey and vanilla)
I propose that we ditch the cookies this year and begin to sell local maple syrup, honey, or apples. No food miles. Healthy alternitivse are available.

Posted May 16, 2008 12:08 AM


I just heard about this issue recently when my brother in law said people at work were refusing to buy any more cookies from him. It appears they saw something on the news about the trans fat in Girl Guide Cookies. So I looked it up on the internet and yep I found a big mess on this blog. I will admit that I was dismayed to find out Girl Guide Cookies had trans fat until out of curiousity I did so checking ( more then CBC did or at least reported) I discovered that Mr. Christie's cookies also have trans fat ( I check a leftover box of Chips Ahoy from camp a parent brought for snack), I also checked Oh Henry chocolate bars they have trans fat, so do Mars and Hershey Almond. I had a box of cake mix on the shelf and guess what it does too.
Why did the CBC choose to single out Girl Guide Cookies? More controversy I assume. The only ones they are hurting however are the girls, who will face refusal after refusal. Not that most people need an excuse but this is a new one for them. My unit thankful has most of our cookies sold. How shall we pay for the extra cookies not sold? Yes each unit is responsible to pay for the cookies they ordered whether they are sold or not. Shall all units affected send the bill to CBC? How many activities or crafts or camps will girls miss out on because of CBC's irresponsible reporting?
There are many problems in the organization at this time and trans fat in cookies is the least of those problems.
Thank You so much CBC for making the job of selling Girl Guide Cookies even harder.

Susan Shoebottom

Posted April 18, 2008 12:10 PM


Sorry, I missed the CBC report on this but DID read the above statements and was able to catch the CHCH LIVE with GGC Shauna Klien on Tuesday April 15th and was impressed!

This spokeswoman did a great job. Clear, concise and to the point. Informative and an eloquent speaker.

Wonderful representative to help clarify the nutritional values of the cookies and she was able to inform the viewer of the history. Selling cookies as a fundraiser was started in Regina in the late 20's by a mom/leader. Also, Girl Guides of Canada were the 1st organization to volunteer its nutrients in 2003 prior to the government's mandate to publicize nutritional values in 2005.

As a GG leader myself, it was great to see a spokesperson (in any organization) who was able to handle the topic with precision. As a former Toastmaster, I enjoyed seeing Ms. Klien speak live and not come across like a babbling idiot with umms and ahhs.

How come CBC didn't follow up with her? Missed opportunity but I wonder if..."It isn't news if it isn't NEGATIVE."

Posted April 17, 2008 01:00 PM

20 Year Guider


I am a Guider and proud of the leadership and unique opportunities offered each week by myself and fellow guiders so that the girls develop healthy self-respect, self-esteem while acquiring important life skills, not to mention long-lasting friendships. The vast majority of us give of our time willing in the name of the 'sisterhood of guiding' we work full time jobs, have children, other volunteer committments etc. and listen to parents tell us they are too busy to help out and to top it all off we sell Girl Guide cookies.
Would I like to see a trans fat free bet I would.
Will I stop selling cookies till that happens...NO.
My girls benefit from those sales, we camp, we go on day trips, we can have specialty visitors in to teach the girls, we can afford to do that awesome craft...the list goes on. We are giving these girls memories and skills that will last a lifetime.
In time everything changes, refusal to buy a box of cookies is nothing new, just the latest in excuses. Wonder what the next additive that we have been eating for 30 years is that will be now discovered to be toxic and is going to kill us?
For the record we sold all of our cases of cookies in record time the campaign and need more and can't get our hands on any. Guess my neighbourhood is out of the loop.
Obviously Peter is going to be buying cookies from his niece...and I'll bet he is he going to eat them to.

Posted April 15, 2008 09:07 PM



For those who won't buy GGC cookies until they take out the transfats - who do you think you are hurting? Certainly not Dare, and really not GGC - it is the girls that sell the cookies - the units the girls belong in need that income, without it all the girls ever would do is sit in the meeting place and do nothing. We need that money to fund camping trips, complete community service projects. No one is asking you to buy the box of cookies open the end up and pour them in. Please help support the girls -
"A great recipe for growing girls"

Posted April 15, 2008 02:33 PM

R Bailey


I would be quite happy to buy a box of cookies if the Girl Guides came to my door. Yes, everybody knows that trans fats are unhealthy. However, taken in moderation the harm done is likely to be minimal. If the Girl Guides were encouraging the consumption of deep-fried foods two or three times a day, then there would be a problem.

Besides, if we all ate only healthy food all of the time, we'd all be needing to seek medical help--for depression.

Posted April 11, 2008 11:35 PM



Well, although I'm a long time member of guiding, I will admit this is the first I've heard about this trans fat issue. This is mostly because I don't pay too much attention to the nutritional information on things that I know are horrible for me healthwise.

I understand the concern about trans fats but I also understand why Girl Guides of Canada is taking so long to make changes. The last time we made changes in the cookies people complained constantly that they did not taste the same as they used to and some people stopped buying them. From my experience, one of the best ways to change the taste of something is to remove fat.

Please don't shun us for the fact that it is taking a group of volunteers (who therefore must spend at least some part of their day ensuring their livelihood) some extra time to catch up with the new opinion on trans fats while attempting to not change the taste of the cookies.

Oh, and for that little offhanded jab about the cookies costing four dollars a box: it's a fundraiser. Your children bring home chocolate bars to sell that cost twice as much as they would in a store. You buy them to support the children. Girl Guide cookies are the same... and have you seen the general price of cookies these days?

Posted April 11, 2008 06:44 PM

Paula Moffatt


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 trans fats 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 a reasonable fundraiser from those usually creative people at Girl Guides Canada soon.

Sincerely; Paula Moffatt

Posted April 4, 2008 02:56 PM


I am wondering if anyone knows if the girl-guide cookies we are selling in Canada contain palm -oil and if so, is this a sustainable source? A bigger question for me than the trans-fat dilemna. Palm Oil plantations are a major reason there is such a catastrophic loss of rainforset in Sumatra and Borneo. The rapid (daily) loss of rainforest is directly affecting the Orangutans who live there and they are dying because of palm oil. The earth is suffering as well. The orangutan numbers are declining and
they are an endangered species. There are numerous orphaned orangutan babies who have witnessed their mothers being killed by farmers who have ripped down their natural habitat and threated their food supply. These orphaned orangutans who normally stay with their mothers until about the age of a Brownie (age 8) need care and support in Borneo and Sumatra. The girl scouts in the States began to petition against the use of palm oil in their cookies. What is (or is in?) the case up here?

Posted March 17, 2008 03:23 PM

Hilary Johnston


I agree with the writer. As a former Guide and mother of a girl of 7 who has enjoyed Sparks and looks forward to a week at the local Girl Guide Camp, I would like to know how I can help the movement catch up in this area.

Posted March 2, 2008 11:27 AM

Joanne Schmidt

I am a Guider with four Units of Sparks and Brownies. We try to have fun together, help others, learn about healthy eating, go outdoors to learn about nature, learn about other cultures, be friends to each other, make things,care about the environment, play games, sing songs, be active, and have fun while doing all of the above. Some meetings just click, others don't but we all come back. Cookie sales can teach great skills. Looking at the nutrition information is a great idea for all people - I'll start to use the boxes with the Brownies (ages 7 - 8) But - cookies are not a meal, they are a treat. Most children get a few treats each week. The income from Guide cookies support girls, and the leaders and programs that help them to grow into caring, independent women. Canadians who support Guiding by buying snack cookies or by donating a few loonies support the future of Canada and of Canadian society in all its diversity and challenges. That's the bottom line in the question of whether Guiding should be selling cookies. Go ahead and encourage healthier items - but still be aware of what Guiding does for Canada and girls and women around the world.

Posted February 23, 2008 08:26 AM

christie wagner


first of all I Love the mint cookies. they are my favorite by far. as for the push for trans fat is cookies give your head a shake. maybe you should only eat one or two cookies at a time instead of wolfing down the whole package.

i laugh at people who comment about how bad these fats in cookies (or whatever ) are bad for us but yet are slugging away on a coke. And we wonder why we have an unhealthy life style.....hmmmm let's stop and ponder that a moment.

also this is a major fundraiser for the Girl Guide movement. Where the girls can get physical and burn off those fats and learn some life skills at the same time.
If you are so worried about the 'fat' in the cookies causing you harm prehaps you should join Girl Guides where you to get 'burn off thos fats. sincerly, christie

Posted November 27, 2007 12:35 AM

Skip Savage

I've eaten GG cookies all my life and have known about trans fats since the early 1980s, thanks to my mother who was way ahead of her time. We all ate the toxic cookies anyway.

My comment is simply that since Dare took over, the taste of the cookies has been disappointing. The "chocolatey" mint ones are absolutely appalling. So fake!

The Guides are fools not to take product quality seriously. Yes, most of us are coerced into buying them, but sales WILL drop as more of us discover how foul the cookies taste.

Posted October 30, 2007 02:53 PM

Anne Green


I have been a supporter of the cookie drive for many years. However when I shop I now never buy anything with hydrogenated fat and after buying my cookies this year and reading the ingredient list afterwards I will not be buying any more if they are not changed - I will be one making a donation but not buying for my grandchildren. Please think of the children who eat these cookies.
A. Green

Posted October 2, 2007 10:36 PM

Patsy Kelly

While I agree that Girl Guides of Canada need to reduce the trans fats in their cookies, I also realize that, in order to produce a cookie that tastes just a good as they do now, it takes time to come up with a better recipe. I challenge the writer of this article, to assist them in coming up with a recipe that is truly original, and tastes as good as what is produced now, for the girl guides. As you know cookies sales is Girl Guides only fund raiser, and in order to sell cookies you need a good product.
The ball is now in your court... what will you do other than write a scathing article about a non-profit organization that is there to help young girls and women be a more productive member of society?

Posted October 1, 2007 03:00 PM

Girl Guide


The truth of the matter is that, well,
there's always SOMEONE who finds someway to avoid buying cookies. As someone who's sold girl guide cookies for nine years, I know that people have their reasons, but you kind of notice after a while that 10 people in a row saying "Sorry, I'm diabetic" or "too bad for me, I'm on a diet" might not actually be entirely true.

The Girl Guides of Canada are more than happy to accept cash donations, and by the way: donations are trans fat, sugar and guilt free
: )

Posted September 10, 2007 08:06 PM



Well - What about it Mr Hadzipetros? Are you up to the challenge? My girls would love to help you take on this challenge! We could use the help and the press to highlight our positive impact in the community!

And thanks G Pearson for the note to the Volunteers!

"I challenge Mr. Hadzipetros to use his time, and energy expertise to volunteer to help the Guides by working with them directly or profiling some of their work he sees as valuable. He needn't buy cookies to help out a worthy non-profit group whose mission is support girls. All he needs to do is get involved supporting an amazing force of volunteers that has made many lives better.
To the many volunteers - I would like to say "thank you". Hopefully, the distraction of bad press will not discourage you in your work.
-G. Pearson"

Posted March 8, 2007 01:00 PM



Update on cookie profits from GGC Ontario
I have just been informed that the Fall campaign (Mint Cookie) will see the unit portion of the profits rise to $.91 per $4 box.

Its an improvement - And the actual split with Dare and GGC - well Dare is paid less than 1/3 of the retail price of the cookie. It is a great fundraising effort - as a popular TV host says......YUM-O! and enjoy you treat!

Posted March 8, 2007 12:47 PM



Okay - Look! Its a cookie - Its not health food. BUT as one who looks from the inside out.....
1. Members have asked FOR YEARS that national
address this issue - you see where we are
2. We sell cookies twice a year ( the never ending cookie sale)- we are told to sell more cookies every year.
3. Cookie Profits:
(A)Dare manufactures the cookies and deserves to make a profit - so BACK OFF they are in business to make money.
(B)Unit Profits are pitiable - The average unit gets $.50 - $.75 of the $4 per box of cookies. National, Provincial, Area, Division & Districts bleed off the remainder of the profits to support their "Programs" - some provide opportunities for girls, some pays admin costs, properties-camps, House facilities- program development, website maintenace, publications, lawyers, insurance etc.
4. - We are trying in Ontario to lower the number of layers of administration 2007/2008- PARENTS - ask if your daughter's unit will keep more of the cookie profit in next fall and spring.

Bottom line - many of us mere members - not on boards, or in appointed positions want changes made - it may or may not happen.

But its STILL THE BEST ORGANIZATION FOR GIRLS IN CANADA. It is run on a local unit level by devoted volunteers (Mostly tired Moms and crazy non-moms) who want to ensure that girls get a chance to be GIRLS - learn to be independent, self assured and know that they are capable of ruling the world if they have that desire. Support them, smile and say thank you to the volunteers, buy a box from a girl or donate a loonie or more -

I beg you to PLEASE ignore the politics that can ruin a girls experience, remember how much fun you had around a campfire singing silly songs and whispering into the night at a sleepover. Be kind ..... remember the seller is probably between the age of 7-14 - powerless to make a decision and told that she has to SELL SELL SELL in order to support her organization.

Posted March 7, 2007 03:19 PM



I find it interestting that you can level guns at Girl Guides for not removing trans fat AND for changing the cookies so they taste different from 10 years ago because they switched to Dare AND you level guns at the ad campaign that targets negative stereo types but you do not highlight the social, political and personal benefits of thousands of girls in Canada and around the world(it was presented as an afterthought in your article Peter, shame on you). You didn't mention that the $4 you get "hit up for" goes to support those programs that you say are so good for these ladies but should actually be spent on making your cookie binge a little healthier. Did you mention that this membership of women and girls actually as a seat at the UN? No. Did you note that they raise funds to help women and girls around the world? No. Educate yourself then open your mouth.


Posted February 19, 2007 09:31 AM

Another Guider


I just got back from a Cookie Blitz, where our group sold GG cookies as a group in a public place. Yes, people mentioned the news articles. And you know what? When they expressed concerns, we just handed them the box and asked them to look at the nutritional information and decide for themselves. We local volunteers don't set national policy and we aren't in a position to defend it or defy it. Most people then bought a box or two.

If you believe in Guiding, but don't want the cookies, just donate the money. Lots of people did that, too. That gives us 100% of the donation to use to help your daughters and granddaughters and those of your neighbours and friends, and cash is trans-fat free.

Posted February 18, 2007 06:55 PM



I just hope your story does not hurt sales of Girl Giude Cookies that so many young girls rely on to provide them with the many benefirs of the program. Your release just weeks before cookies come out, couldn't be any worse!

Posted February 15, 2007 10:42 PM



Jeannette Clark, I wish I had seen your message earlier so that I could correct it. The Girl Guide organization keeps over 60% of the money it collects in cookie sales. Dare's profit is quite marginal. I hope that the false information you provided (albeit inadvertently) has not influenced others to reduce their cookie purchases.

Posted February 15, 2007 09:40 PM

jeanette clark

Girl Guides may be selling "Not for profit" but not so the cookie supplier who takes back almost 90% (so I was told), of the money collected. Since I was given that information, I have cut back on buying their cookies, now I will give it up entirely and not only because of the lack of profit for the girls, or even the trans fat issue, but because it makes me so angry that quota's are now set. Better it is, to my mind, to just make a cash donation!

Posted February 6, 2007 04:41 PM

Johnny Penso

Not every food is in a "black and white" situation when it comes to healthiness and nutrition, but I believe that trans fats definitely fall into onto the bad side of the equation. I don't understand when some people advocate that it's only a few cookies a year so don't worry about it. That is a wonderful approach to take - in isolation. If it is ok with cookies, then it's ok with french fries, and it's ok with some butter tarts and it's ok with some puff pastry, and the list goes on and on. Before you know it, the exceptions become the rule and your whole diet is crap!!

You have to draw the line somewhere and I think it is a reasonable position to not want to consume trans fats of any kind. The research is clear that trans fats are not healthy. I will not buy Girl Guide cookies for that reason and I think that they are sending a lousy message to the Guides by not changing their cookie recipe. I don't buy into the switching over process being long and expensive. The groundwork has already been laid for similar cookies being converted to a non-trans fat formula...this isn't rocket science here it's just a cookie.

As with anything else, the Guides will make their decision when it hits them in the pocketbook, and with the increased attention on this issue and perhaps aided by the new Canada Food Guide, this year could be the final one for their trans fat cookie recipe...and it's about time.

Posted February 6, 2007 04:08 AM



Health risks of trans fats are a leftist conspiracy, the Earth is flat and there was nothing wrong with the Holy Inquisition and burning of witches. Everybody who thinks otherwise should be ashamed...

Posted February 5, 2007 12:42 PM



This 'reporter' has attitude. Fortunately, some readers have detected that. Now, for some truly unbiased information:

Please reference the Federal Trans Fat Task Force report, Appendix XIV, which lists the types of alternative fats with which to substitute trans fats. You will see that the health benefit for the types of alternative fat available for a food such as Girl Guide cookies (Bakery, Shortening, Solid) is this: "expected lower total (LDL) / HDL cholesterol ratio?" That's verbatim, meaning the question mark is part of the reported, researched, Federal Trans Fat Task Force net health benefit. For those that can't grasp the meaning of the question mark, it's this: There is a questionable net health benefit when trans fats are replaced by the alternative fat. For other applications, the alternative fats are expected to 'reduce the risk of heart disease'. But not for a baked good that uses solid shortening.

Ever stop to think that maybe - just maybe - Girl Guides of Canada is aware that to replace the trans fats with the available alternatives equates to, as they say 'rearranging desk chairs on the Titanic.'?

I certainly hope Peter Hadzipetros doesn't hold himself out as any sort of reporter or journalist, because he clearly cannot conduct very basic, much less easily-accessible Internet-style, research. He should be ashamed of himself, and the CBC should be ashamed of the sensationalism and poorly researched material.

Posted February 2, 2007 04:48 PM

Jim c

Sound like present cookie storage in warehouse or private homes is too large to make a decision for the immediate future. If so, an unespected, bad decision of over stocking for contract price. Must get rid of present supplies first?

Posted February 1, 2007 08:10 PM



I emailed the Guides (thanks for the link). Perhaps if they take a hit on their fundraising this year, their priorities will shift.

Posted February 1, 2007 09:39 AM



I am concerned that Girl Guides has not responded to many pleas from leaders who are experiencing opposition on the selling line from the very informed public about the dangers of trans-fats.
I can only guess that Girl Guides of Canada has already signed a contract for the existing cookies for the next number of years and cannot do anything about it.
As a leader, I am forced to sell a quota of cookies twice a year. The only option I have is to reduce to a minimum my required number of cases ordered. I have done that and will continue to do so until I feel good about selling a healthier product.

Posted January 28, 2007 10:45 PM




Very well put! I think you hit it on the head there. Ultimately parents are responsible for guiding their children's habbits (or trying)and adults are able to make choices. I think people are quick to blame corporations because it's the easy way out.

I'm glad to say that singing around the camp fire, playing games and learning leadership skills is still a major part of Guiding.

I think what the campaign means is that guiding gives them other things to focus on (rather than their image), that girls need for a more balanced view of life, especially today and especially at such a crucial age. It's still all about fun :)

Posted January 25, 2007 08:38 PM

Girl Guide Supporter

As a young adult who works with Pathfinders (aged 12-15), I can assure you that their image is always on their minds...even at the meetings where they're surrounded by their peers. Yes, it was different years ago...but we're not in the past anymore. We're in an age where image is a huge part of their lives. Yes we are still "singing around the camp fire, playing games and learning leadership skills", but image is a factor today. It's everywhere and it can't be escaped.

Maybe before jumping on GGC for their campaign and their 'much too fatty' cookies, we should look at what we're teaching our girls when they're not at a Girl Guide meeting being forced to sell these death cookies.

Posted January 25, 2007 04:39 PM

Tara - Proud Girl Guide Leader

To those who claim Boy Scouts might be a better option for girls as Scouts has "more concerns about the health of our daughter." Hmm, well if one did some research one would find Scouts sells popcorn and did you know that one bag of the microwave popcorn contains 2.5 g of transfat??? Really, before you judge and claim the alternative is better, some research might be in order.

Posted January 25, 2007 12:30 PM


Removing trans fat from GGC is a good idea, but it is not necessary.
Parents should have more control in what their kids eat. They should influence a more healthier eating lifestyle. I know that this isn't always easy, but we have to stop blaming companies for being responsible for obesity and unhealthy eating.
Home life certainly has many factors that influence the way young people eat.
It's not food that is bad, it's the way people think about food.
Also, I think the Girl Need Guids campaign is not necessary. Children at this age may have an issue with their image but Girl Guids isn't the place for it. What ever happened to singing around the camp fire, playing games and learning leadership skills?
When I attended Girl Guides I know the last thing on my mind was my image. It's all about having fun.

Posted January 25, 2007 09:50 AM

Cookie lover


I agree that it would be a great move for GGC to remove trans fat from its cookies or to sell something healthier, but let's get some perspective here -- it's not like the cookies contain arsenic. Most cookies on the market contain trans fats, and have for years. Yes, trans fats are bad for you, but so are many of the other ingredients in junk food. No one is eating GG cookies under the impression that they're good for them.

My understanding is that GGC has been trying hard to eliminate trans fats from the cookies, but they haven't yet come up with a way to do it without putting sales at risk by significantly changing the taste/texture. Some might say this is putting profits ahead of health, but we have to remember that these are a twice-a-year treat and that they are one of GGC's only funding sources. Sure, it would be great if GGC could switch to selling something healthier, but it would lose the recognition that GG cookies now have, and the money lost during the rebuilding process would probably be enough to kill the organization. We're not talking about a multinational corporation -- we're talking about a non-profit that needs the revenue to survive. A non-profit, I might add, that does amazing things for the girls and women of this country -- including encouraging them to pursue healthy lifestyles.

Posted January 24, 2007 06:04 PM



I have to agree with Leanne of Halifax.
This is a cookie that is sold once a year. Its kind of like making homemade cinnamon buns or butter horns - you don't do those everyday and when you get them, they are a treat not a main meal.
If consuming one box (or possibly more) of girl guide cookies in a year represents a serious health risk, then imagine what our other vices must be doing to us.
For those who expressed their disgust and intentions to withhold any financial support until the situation is rectified, so be it. But don't wrap it in a cloak moral high ground, it is just an excuse to use to save yourself 4 bucks.

Posted January 24, 2007 03:57 PM



I agree with Chad. I'm glad to be informed of the transfats in GGC. My question is why can they not get rid of them if Girl Guides in the states can? Knowing the health risks, this should be a priority.

Posted January 24, 2007 12:43 PM


I've made huge changes in the way I eat over the past 7 years, and have tried to cut trans fats from my diet, even before it was popular to do so. I support Girl Guides, but I'm unwilling to buy the cookies because of the trans fats. When I contacted Girl Guides this past spring to explain why I was no longer buying the cookies, they told me (paraphrasing) that they were aware of the problem, but had no plans to change the cookies and that they were giving people what they wanted.

I'm sorry that I am not financially supporting a group that does so much for young girls, but they don't get my money until they take the health of these same girls seriously.

Even though this is taking dollars away from a non-profit group, I'm voting with my dollar, as they say.

Posted January 24, 2007 10:17 AM



Why are people so upset at Peter over this blog? If you haven't noticed he writes his blog on health and fitness. He is letting us know about cookies being sold that are very unhealthy. If there is food out there that I could be eating that is bad for me, I would like to know about it. Thank you for sharing this information with us Peter.

Posted January 24, 2007 05:19 AM

GGC Member

Girl guides is not about cookies, it’s about teaching girls a variety of skills and encouraging them to try new things in a fun environment that is female oriented. I've been a girl guide for 15 years, I’ve experienced these opportunities and I’ve done a lot of things I wouldn't normally do around boys.
I personally think there's a certain element of nostalgia which is why GGC has worked hard to keep the cookie the same. I realize that it may be hard to teach your daughter about healthy eating while asking her to sell a cookie you wouldn't encourage her to eat but a few Girl Guide cookies every 6 months is more of a treat than a regular snack and it supports an organization that provides amazing opportunities to young girls. We’re not encouraging mass consumption of cookies; it’s only a few cookies twice a year. I call that moderation.
I’ve sold a lot of cookies over the years. You don’t have to buy cookies and you don’t have to sell the cookies at work for your daughter, in fact you’re not doing her any favours by doing the work for her. By assigning one case per girl you ensure that every girl learns selling skills and team work (the leaders should facilitate an opportunity for girls to sell cookies together). As long as a girl has tried to sell the cookies then they’ve learned something and are more than welcome to ask for help.
Realistically, if you don’t like that your daughter is selling unhealthy cookies, let GGC know what other kinds of fundraising they can do to raise the same amount of money or how they can alter the recipe. I’m sure that national has tried to find other types of fundraising ideas, but nothing compares to cookie sales. Be involved in your daughter’s unit and take the responsibility of ensuring your daughter has access to all the resources she needs to become a success woman in life. If you don’t like the way something is done, talk to someone about it and help them come up with a better alternative.

Posted January 23, 2007 07:52 PM


I find the below statement very dusturbing.

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)....

So according to this its a "Suck it up" policy? Just because you have had eaten the cookies and trans-fats doesn't mean everyone else should suck it up and eat them too. I am not risking cardiovascualr problems and polluting my body with trans-fats. What will happen is a significant drop in Girl Guide cookie sales. People are not going to shrug their shoulders and subject themselves to harmful trans-fats. They will find an alternative. Its as if no one at Girl Guides of Canad even cares about trans fats. They just want to sell more cookies for more funding.

Posted January 23, 2007 07:27 PM



It is valid point that transfat cookies are not a good product for the Girl Guides to be selling ;I am certain it the issue is being seriously studied by the Girl Guide organization.The Girl Guides are committed to positive change in society- and I am sure this case is not being taken lightly by the administration.
Reflecting upon my childhood and memorable experiences; many of the wonderful experiences I had as a child are directly related to time spent in the Girl Guide org. I learned a great deal, met many great role models, and had fabulous opportunities due to the tireless work of many volunteers.
I learned many valuable life lessons as a Guide that help me to lead a healthy life - a life that includes good nutrition, a positive attitude, caring for my environment, and helping others achieve their goals.
As an educator , I continuously draw on the resources I have gained and my experiences as a Guide. I strive to do my part to impact others, and our global society in a positive way.
Mr. Hadzipetros has exercised his right to free speech. Perhaps, his extremely negative press will help change a policy in the Girl Guide organization that was inevitable anyways... Unfortunately, I find the tone of his piece grating on the nerves; I am sure the tone of his article could have been kinder. The next time I see something written Hadzipetros I will choose not to read it.
I challenge Mr. Hadzipetros to use his time, and energy expertise to volunteer to help the Guides by working with them directly or profiling some of their work he sees as valuable. He needn't buy cookies to help out a worthy non-profit group whose mission is support girls. All he needs to do is get involved supporting an amazing force of volunteers that has made many lives better.
To the many volunteers - I would like to say "thank you". Hopefully, the distraction of bad press will not discourage you in your work.
-G. Pearson

Posted January 23, 2007 06:15 PM

Concerned Brownie Mom

Re Concerned Guider

There is a difference between Doughnuts, French Fries, Potato Chips, etc and Girl Guide Cookies. I have a choice whether I buy those foods or not. I can send a message to the company that makes foods using transfats by skipping them and buying another company, say skip Dare and buy Voortman. And I can also use the opportunity as another way to teach my daughter about healthy eating, and encourage healthier foods.

The same cannot be said for Girl Guide Cookies. My daughter just brought home a note for Spring Cookie Orders which states, "Each Brownie is responsible for (selling) a minimum of one case (12 boxes)." Heart disease is a big concern in our family, both my husband's and mine. We work very hard at teaching healthy choices for our kids.

"Scientific evidence has shown that dietary trans fats can increase your risk of developing heart disease. You can reduce this risk by choosing healthier foods that contain little or no trans fat.
"Help your children develop healthy eating habits. Encourage them to eat healthy snacks that are lower in trans fats and saturated fats, and lead by example. Good snack choices for children include fruits and vegetables, milk, yogurt, and whole grain cereal and bakery products that are lower in trans fats and saturated fats" (Health Canada)

I think Guiding itself has a bigger impact on registration than this article. I wonder what GGC would think if I and others did exercise our ability to choose and found an organization with more concern about the health of our daughters, say Scouts?

Posted January 23, 2007 02:39 PM



Ultimately, this whole discussion has been about a cookie. Anyway you slice it, its a cookie. Anyway you look at it, its still not a healthy snack - trans fats or not. I, for one, will not worry about it for the couple of times a year I enjoy them.

Posted January 23, 2007 02:33 PM


I can't believe what I'm reading! The CBC in general has been nothing but cynical in regards to Guiding over the past few months. While local stations are very supportive of the movement, national coverage has been just awful. It seems as if we can't win.

We don't change our cookies? We're behind the times. We start a new, modern, upfront ad campaign to attract more members? We're playing havoc with the traditions and image of guiding. What do you want us to be???

Case in point: Does anyone even remember the fact that GGC hosted a national camp in July 2006? This camp had 2500 participants from Canada and beyond that were out living a healthly lifestyle. There was all sorts of local coverage on the event. When CBC national came out to visit, what did they cover? That's right - the new ad campaign (in a most unflattering way).

I'm not implying that we should coerce the media into covering a story "our way". I'm just saying - take a look at the WHOLE picture before you start making comments that can greatly impact in a harmful way the important work done by an organization as a whole.

Keep in mind that almost ALL of the initiatives underway in Guiding are led by volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time every year to ensure the young women of this country can experience the joys of being a guide. These volunteers and our precious few staff members are working diligently toward a solution, as Concerned Guider said.

Thanks for helping to detract even more people from supporting the sole national fundraiser of this organization. Sheesh.

Posted January 23, 2007 01:51 PM

John Q. P.

Hey Peter, trans-fats sure are dangerous. After all, a couple of dozen cookies a year will definitely curtail my (and your) lifespan.

But I've got a question? How are they dangerous? In your entire essay, you barely bother to talk about that. Just a reference to some unqualified artery clogging. You haven't got a witch hunt going here, have you? Nah, I didn't think so. Just a few cheap shots to keep the web hits coming. Musn't let perspective get in the way of your career, right?


Posted January 23, 2007 04:42 AM


Thank you for an informative and important article. The best way to effect change in our society is through our youth. They will carry it forward. Perhaps this controversy will help to raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating amongst these kids. After all the Girl Guides have been "around for nearly 100 years providing a safe, fulfilling and rewarding experience for its members". I'm sure this fine organization is greatly concerned for the health of its members.
Don't worry girls, I'll be ordering my usual amount this year... but I will be eating them slower.

Posted January 23, 2007 04:30 AM

Concerned guider

Mr. Hadzipetros,

It seems extremely unfair that you would target negative publicity towards a non profit organization such as the Girl Guides of Canada which promotes learning, leadership, fun, friendships and much more. Guiding is the largest organization for women and has been around for nearly 100 years providing a safe, fulfilling and rewarding experience for its members, especially needed in today's society.

You wrote that they "don't appear to be in a rush to do anything about it". You had no trouble quoting and paraphrasing from the website, but you conveniently left out the statement regarding trans fats: "GGC is currently investigating reformulation options. However, at this point no decision has been made. All choices 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."

After all these cookies are only available twice a year and 3 of the mint cookies contain just 1.5g of trans fat per 3 cookies. For whatever reason, you neglected to mention trans fat figures for some foods that many people eat daily such as: Doughnut: 5g; French Fries (small): 8g; Potato Chips: (Small bag) 3g; Candy Bar 3g; Pound Cake: (per slice) 4.5g and so on... (Sources: Health Canada, U.S. Food & Drug Administration)

It would be very sad if your article were to have an effect on registration......

Posted January 22, 2007 09:55 PM

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