Girl Scouts Urged to Drop Bogus Claims Equating Cookies with Fruit

"Mango Cremes with NutriFusionTM" Are as Junky as Other Cookies, Says CSPI


It's bad enough that the Girl Scouts of the USA sells cookies to raise money, but it shouldn't pretend that its new "Mango Crèmes with NutriFusion" are nutritionally equivalent to fruit, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The cookies at issue are 98 percent white flour, sugar, palm oil, and dextrose (sugar made from corn). Yet marketing copy on the manufacturer's website claims that its filling has "all the nutrient benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries!"

In a letter to Girl Scouts of America CEO Anna Maria Chávez, CSPI says that by marketing these new cookies as a "delicious new way to get your vitamins," the Girl Scouts is misleading its young members and undermining their health.

Besides flour, sugar, palm oil, and dextrose, the remaining 2 percent of Mango Crèmes with NutriFusion includes corn syrup, leavening, natural and artificial flavor, corn starch, salt, and coconut, followed by "nutrients from natural whole food concentrate (cranberry, pomegranate, orange, grape, strawberry, shitake mushrooms)." Soy lecithin, citric acid, malic acid, and annatto color round out the list of ingredients. A serving of three cookies has 180 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, and less than a gram of fiber. CSPI says the tiny amounts of nutrients from fruit concentrate don't make the cookies remotely equivalent to fruit of any kind.

"The Girl Scouts should promote healthy eating through all of its educational activities, including fundraising," wrote CSPI's executive director Michael F. Jacobson and nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan. "Sweet baked goods, including cookies, are a leading source of calories, sugars, and fats in Americans' diets."

"If there were a badge for misleading marketing I'm afraid the Girl Scouts of the USA just earned it," Wootan said.

Today is National Girl Scout Cookie Day.

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