Gluten-free Girl Scout cookies debut
by Monica Watrous
NEW YORK — Girl Scouts may earn a merit badge from gluten-conscious consumers with the newest addition to its cookie program lineup.
ABC Bakers, a licensed Girl Scout cookie maker, is testing Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies in 20 select markets as part of the Girl Scouts’ 2013-2014 cookie sale.
Made with a blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch and potato starch, the bite-size cookies contain no artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup, palm oil or hydrogenated oils. A serving of four cookies has 130 calories and 7 grams of fat. The cookies meet the 5 parts per million (p.p.m.) limit established by the Celiac Sprue Association, which is 75% lower than the Food and Drug Administration’s 20 p.p.m. proposed restriction.
“Millions of Americans have problems eating food with gluten, so ABC Bakers has created a delicious cookie just for them,” the organization said on its web site.
Test markets include California’s central coast, central Maryland, eastern Wisconsin, southern Nevada, western New York, eastern Iowa and western Illinois, eastern Massachusetts, eastern Pennsylvania and Maine, among others.
The Girl Scouts web site also addresses the use of bioengineered ingredients in its cookies.
“At the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (G.M.O.s) in Girl Scout Cookies,” the organization said on its web site. “Our bakers determine whether to use G.M.O.s in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on the specific cookie recipe. Girl Scouts recognizes that many people have concerns regarding G.M.O. ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter.”