GMO Inside Blog

Dear Girl Scouts, we want Non-GMO Cookies please! Until then, Carrots!

Ok, ok, so we aren’t seriously suggesting that carrots would be as pleasing a treat or as prosperous a fundraiser as the scrumptious Thin Mints and Samosas we all love, but we are calling on the Girl Scouts to bake-up a Non–GMO cookie.

A girl scout troop in Missouri hosts a non-GMO bakesale with Jeffrey Smith of Institute for Responsible Technology, and GMO Inside Steering Committee member.

A girl scout troop in Missouri hosts a non-GMO bakesale with Jeffrey Smith of Institute for Responsible Technology, and GMO Inside Steering Committee member.

According to the Girl Scout’s website, their cookies contain conventional ingredients, such as sugar, which are commonly genetically engineered.  (In fact, 95% of the sugar beet crop in the US is genetically engineered, then turned into sugar.) The Girl Scouts state, “For the time being, we feel confident in the safety of all the ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies, including GMO ingredients.”

You could argue that any cookie worth it’s salt would have to contain some sugar, but that sugar need not be GMO to be tasty. Certainly not.

GMOs have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs also result in the increasing use of toxic herbicides and are harming farmers in the US and abroad.

Until the Girl Scouts can devise a non-GMO recipe, we’re calling on all Girl Scout cookie lovers to support the Girl Scouts in other ways.

Would you buy organic baby carrots in honor of the Girl Scouts? Or homemade cookies with non-GMO sugar?

Until there are non-GMO choices, you can still support the Scouts without contributing to the demand for GMO ingredients:

If you are a Girl Scout or a troop leader concerned about GMOs you can raise funds in other ways. Some great ideas are provided on the Girls Scout’s own site. (and some of them are quite eco-friendly!)

Join us on facebook in asking the Girl Scouts for some non-GMO cookies! And stay tuned for some GMO Insider recipes to make your own non-GMO Girl Scout cookie variations.






46 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Diane
    February 23, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Dear Girl Scouts, I too was in girl scouts. It was fun and a great learning experience. So I see hear another opportunity to learn and share your knowledge with others. So start making non-gmo cookies so the girls can learn how to research, explain and pass on helpful healthful information.
    So with the girl scout moto empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship this endeavor would fit perfectly.

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughtful response Diane. We’ll pass your comments along. Also beure to share your thoughts directly on the Girls Scouts Facebook page.

    • Katie
      February 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      I agree! Unless you are completely organic, by USDA standards you cannot confidently assert that your Girl Scout edible products are free of GMOs! More are learning about GMOs and companies that continue to use GMO’s will likely eventually experience severe decreases in revenue.

      • Ken
        March 6, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

        Hi Katie,

        Actually, products can be GMO-free without being USDA- certified organic. Food productscan undergo independent, third-party testing to be certified GMO-free, earning the right to be labeled as such under the Non-GMO Project. Though purchasing these products won’t guarantee the reduced exposure to pesticides and reduced environmental effects from agricultural methods used that certified organic will, at least you can feel comfortable knowing you aren’t eating foods with GMO-laden ingredients.

      • Jeko
        March 28, 2013 at 11:50 am #

        This has been an eye-opener for me on how the FDA functions. I wrote in early on to psroett, and was basically told my psroett was too late and the only comments being taken were on labeling. So, I signed all the petitions I could and wrote a letter urging labels. No labels? Sounds like this decision was made early on and what people care about it does not matter in the least. Isn’t it incredible that GMOs are imposed on us? We should have a right NOT to eat them if we choose. Apparently 75% of the food on our shelves contain GMOs. I feel as you do about the salmon. Not enough testing has been done. Thanks for writing this post and alerting the public.

    • Lisita Orr
      January 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      Using GMOs in their cookies has further cemented my refusal in buying them. I stopped a long long while ago when they replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup, then the artificial colors & flavors…..just so far away from the original recipes.

  2. Victoria
    February 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    For the first time in 40 years, I didn’t buy 15 boxes of cookies but instead gave the equivalent amount of money to the Girl Scouts. As a former Girl Scout and leader, I am sad that the national leaders have decided to continue promoting cookies that have so much unhealthy ingredients, mainly Genetically Modified sugar and hydrogenated oils.

    In case the leaders have not noticed, the polls across the US are showing that over 70% of the population wants genetically modified food to be labeled so that all of us can make informed decisions about the food we feed our families.

    If I were still a leader, I would have my girls do research on GMOs. I imagine they would be surprised at the prevalence of unnatural, lab-created organisms in our food supply. After they found out the facts, I would encourage them to come up with positive actions to help educate their families and friends and the rest of their community.

    It’s no fluke that 60 other countries on this planet ban GMOs.

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Victoria, and for making a donation to support the Girl Scouts, without supporting GMO products. What a great idea to have the girls do research on their own.

  3. Lisa
    February 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    I just cancelled my 15 box cookie order with our local Girl Scout girl. I cannot, with good conscience, purchase these cookies with GMO’s and give them to my children as treats or have them in our home. I will not purchase anything with GMOs because I am in charge of our household health as mother, cook, grocery shopper, etc.

    It’s sad that the Girl Scouts Organization would ignore such an important factor in the selling of their iconic cookies. Until there are no GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies there will be one less supporter.

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 25, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Thanks for your comment and your support of a non-GMO food supply. It’s important to vote with our dollars in favor of the products we support, but we are suggesting a boycott of support for the Girl Scouts. If you still support the programs the Girl Scouts run for girls in your area you can donate to the cookie sellers or donate to the organization directly online.

  4. Sylvan
    February 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    The safety of GMO products is very questionable. We have no idea what the effects are of GMO ingredients on the subtle biological processes in our bodies. Looking at the state of health of today’s society there is even more reason to question GMO’s. If anything, scouts should respect nature and the planet. Genetically modifying nature is the beginning of the end and could lead to biological disasters, let alone a deterioration of our health. Please do what is right and say no to GMO.

  5. Al Martin
    February 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Dear Girl Scouts , When I found out your cookies were made with GMOs I decided that I would not buy any until you made them safe.
    –thank you

  6. Karen
    February 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    It’s important that the health of our girls take top priority over cookie sales! This will be a great lesson for the girls to learn about GMO’s toxic poisons in food, they are the future leaders and future Mother’s who need to know that their is pride and honestly in their cookie sales to the people. Selling GMO cookies is certainly poison and dishonest.

  7. Larissa West
    February 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    As a Girl Scout Troop leader, I will be talking to my girls about this in the coming months. I am going to propose that next year we bake our own GMO free cookies to sell and hold a bake sale. I CANNOT, in good conscience ask my girls to promote and sell a product containing ingredients that are BANNED in Europe and linked to sickness and disease. PLEASE GS, wake up!!!!!!! Tell everyone you know to leave comments for GS-it’s the only way we will get this to change!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 25, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Thanks Larissa. A home-made fundraiser is a great idea!

  8. anne winn
    February 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    Selling Girl Scout cookies is a long standing traditional fundraiser. I remember selling them
    when I was a kid sixty years ago. But times have changed and so have commercial ingredients. I realize that Girls Scouts of America contracts with a cookie manufacturer to make them. Sixty years ago the ingredients were less adulterated than they are now. Please consider stipulating that the manufacturer replace genetically modified and other proven unhealthy ingredients from the cookies. I bet you sell even more cookies with NO GMO’s on the label.

  9. Michele Fay
    February 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    Shame on the Girl Scout leaders for saying that GMOs are safe! This is beyond wrong.

  10. Robbin Wood
    February 25, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    Dear Girl Scouts,

    The consciousness is changing in the masses and GMOs will soon be a thing of the past. Be a leader in the industry and refrain from using GMOs now. When the truth comes out and people start pointing fingers as to why this toxic food was allowed to be produced you will be the first to say you changed your ways. This day will come. Decide now how you want to be viewed by the public.

    Kindest regards,

    Robbin Wood
    Girl Scout Alumni

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 25, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Thanks for your thoughtful concerns Robbin. We will pass them on to the Girl Scouts.

      • Stephanie
        March 28, 2013 at 1:23 am #

        nicole dossey – Just waentd to leave you a note of encouragement. You are so brave and are fighting an amazing fight for your family’s health. It is such a blessing that you are willing to share your story and blog, it will change lives for sure. You example is convicting me that we have to get the toxic junk out of our lives too. I need the 12 steps to a heathy home series. It is overwhelming to know where to start. I start having anxiety just thinking about where to start with our family.

  11. L. Lopez
    February 25, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    Years ago I wrote a letter to the Girl Scouts regarding the GMO’s in the cookies, which are sold annually. It doesn’t make sense that the cookies have these toxic ingredients when the Girl Scouts stand for wholesomeness. The cookies should be wholesome as well. Until Girl Scout cookies are GMO free, hydrogenated oil free, high fructose corn syrup free, etc. I will not purchase them and educate others on the GMO factor in it to not support these type of products as well.

    Hope you change the ingredients. It’s better to pay higher prices than to put those detrimental cookies into one’s body.

    Thank you.

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 25, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks L. Lopez. Direct outreach is important and one of the first steps to making change happen. We’ll share your concerns and those of many others with the Girl Scouts in hopes they once and for all take GMOs out of their cookies.

  12. N. Tew
    February 25, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    Sorry I won’t be buying my favorite cookies this year ( I usually buy 20 to 30 boxes and freeze them ) No GMO’s in my house. Please consider changing your ingredients. You say you care about the future of the young women in your groups..what about their future health ??

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 25, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks for your comment N. Tew. Please consider making a donation to the Girl Scouts in lieu of buying their cookies and putting your dollar towards GMOs. We will share your note with the Girl Scouts.

  13. Susan
    February 25, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    Please cite your source for this statement about sugar. I work for a major sugar grower in the US and our company only produces non-GMO sugar. Id be interested to know which company does produce GMO sugar.

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 25, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks for your comment Susan. The stat about sugar beets comes from the Non-GMO Project.
      The University of Nebraska-Lincoln estimates that roughly 50-55% of the sugar in the US is derived from sugar beets, the rest from sugar cane. This does not take into account other sweeteners like High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is also likely to be genetically modified.

    • airika
      February 25, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      i’d like to know what co you work for so i could buy non gmo sugar.

      • Elizabeth O'Connell
        February 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        Hi Arika, GMO Inside is a campaign of Green America, a non-profit organization, and represents a coalition of organizations concerned about GMOs. We do not sell any products, but you can find non-GMO sugar by choosing brands that are organic or NON-GMO verified. (Note that pure sugarcane is not genetically engineered, only sugar from Sugar Beets, though its not always easy to find out what the sugar you consume is derived from.) You can find some non-gmo sugars and sweeteners here, via Non-GMO Project.

  14. joaquin olson
    February 25, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Wow, I cant believe that even Girl scouts have ignored the dangers of GMOS. I always support by buying cookies each year, and will no longer, and will not donate money either. It should not be up to the people that support an organization such as yours to encourage you to provide safe food, I am ashamed. I will be supporting other organizations that do not use gmos in their product, sadly the girls will be loosing out.

  15. Judy
    February 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    I will never buy another box of Girl Scout cookies until you use non-GMOs.

  16. Laura Montoya
    February 27, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Hi ladies! I was in Girl Scouts, too! I loved it, and it teaches girls many valuable skills of resourcefulness and self-reliance.
    The cookies you sell are ordered through the larger organization, so you’re not to blame.
    However, knowing what I know about them I do not want to buy them anymore.
    Moreover, if it was easy enough through regulations to sell your own cookies, I bet the cookies you make would be better than those boxed ones.
    I would love to see girl scouts learn a bit about activism and creating change by insisting on the most quality ingredients for their cookies.
    I know you can do it!

    • Elizabeth O'Connell
      February 28, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Thanks for your comment Laura. We’ll pass it on to the Girl Scouts!

  17. Marie Crawford
    February 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    I won’t buy Girl Scouts cookies for my kids. This makes my daughter sad. She wants to support her friends. Girl Scouts, why don’t you make better cookies? It would be really neat, if the recipes came from your scouts, and the girl scouts set standards for the ingredients and processing in the cookies. NO GMO’s, fructose, and sustainably harvested oils are a good start.

  18. Alice
    February 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Do the research, GMO is a very bad idea. Has far reaching consequences that are seem unsound and non of it has been tested. Very risky! Not interested!

  19. amya paige
    March 1, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Let us look at the big picture…we are eating more and more GMOs in the US. As more countries have banned GMOs…someone here said 60…the market for these GMO products shrinks down to one main target…the US. It would be foolish to assume that production was lessened, making it highly likely that the food rejected by the other markets in other countries comes our way in massive amounts. I imagine a huge dump truck full of GMO products headed to each country, and upon rejection, all of them coming to the US to dump. In essense, I am saying that we in the US may be eating 60 or more times the amount of GMOs in this country than others. Why should we tolerate this? Why are we test examples…they have rats for that that have shown horrible consequences for eating the GMOs. There is a web site for starting petitions… We should all petition on a ban for GMOs in the US.

    • Aji
      March 28, 2013 at 12:03 am #

      Lynn – Hey Lyndsay .sorry that Taryn is having the whack-a-mole . We know it so well But I am super duper codnnieft that you will get her through this. Teagan looks freakin AMAZING! His eyes are so full of light and that is the real deal sister! I am in a place similar to you..using Virastop kicked up something and his eye is just off so hard to see. That is why you need to do this with her and end it. Would love to know who is supervising we need to do it too. Hugs to all Lynn

  20. Rhonda
    March 2, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Response…from the GS Heart of MI:
    Talking with Shelly and our Product Team, this is what is stated on our national website and you can find that link here. You can also find nutritional information from Little Brownie Baker here.

    Our bakers determine whether to use genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors. There are some conventional ingredients, such as sugar, which are most prominently available in the United States as GMO. Our bakers are industry experts and have brought their experience and knowledge to the forefront on this topic, and they actively follow the science. For the time being, we feel confident in the safety of all the ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies, including GMO ingredients.

    It’s important to note that there is worldwide scientific support that there are no safety concerns with the currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) on the market&#8212the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.

    Our boxes are NOT labeled as non-GMO products, so customers are free to formulate their own opinions and make their own decisions just like any other food product.

    I think it is important to read the entire article and note that the top is the Editor&#8217s Comments and in the actual article it suggests supporting Girl Scouts in other ways and there is also an outlet to join a Facebook page to petition the bakers to create a non-GMO cookie. These are viable options.

    The link to additional fundraisers would be worth a look if the girls in the Troop are concerned about GMO&#8217s and want to raise money in other ways as well.

    Thanks and I hope this takes care of your concerns.

    Jackie Luedtke (BSW, CNP)

    Membership Specialist

    Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan

  21. Krista
    March 6, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Hi. I bought girl scout cookies this year as I always do but I am now much more concerned about ingredients in my food. Very upset to see hydrogenated oil and most likely GMO ingredients. What a great way for these issues to get recognition is if girls scouts addressed it. I won’t be able to buy them in the future unless changes are made. Thanks so much

  22. pet
    March 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Already checked where my local girl scouts sell their GM cookies. Looking forward to supporting them against technophobe wackos who put their agenda above the good that small kids are trying to do.

  23. Ella Kay
    March 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Dear Girl Scouts:
    As a former Girl Scout, I hope you educate your girls properly and show them the difference between science and rumors spread by the uninformed who think that GMOs are a health hazard. Your cookies are fine just the way they are and it’s a shame that adults are using this issue to push an agenda from Big Organic and frighten people needlessly. The vast majority of the scientific community and health experts know that GMO plants once tested and approved are perfectly safe to eat. Just ask a real scientist.

    • joaquin olson
      March 7, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Its a real shame that people will put the priorities of an organization, above the health and well beings of the public, and let alone their own children. Shame on you. I will not buy cookies, I will however educate the people that will listen about the dangers of GMOs, the companies that are blocking further labeling, and the advantages of better health but eating food that are not chemical laden such as girl scout cookies.
      do your research, this is not about denying kids a chance to make a difference, its about health, period.

  24. Jessica
    March 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    I’m a former Brownie and a GirlScout. It’s sad I cannot support the cookie sales because I avoid GMOs at all costs. Please make our future generations healthier, by using non GMO ingredients, fair trade practices and sustainable resources. Thank you for making many of the cookie options vegan. I urge you to change further by not supporting GMOs.

  25. Rob Litchfield
    July 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    As a former Boy Scout and a father of a Brownie and Girl Scout, I remember the emphasis placed upon developing leadership skills. This teaching served me well during my military service in World War 2. It seems to me that it is incumbent upon the leadership of the Girl Scouts to demonstrate leadership by insisting that their bakers use only ORGANIC ingredients in their products! It is not difficult to do this and especially since our daughters and grand daughters are selling this product to their friends and family, it ought to be the BEST PRODUCT THAT MONEY CAN BUY! Why should our children feel GUILTY about selling foodstuffs to GRANDPA and GRANDPA?! FIX IT PLEASE!

  26. rhonda varsane
    August 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Would love to support your efforts by offering everyone an opportunity to submit articles, photos, art, poetry, links, activities etc etc for a YOUTH educating magazine

    Part two:

    Part I, Scientist Under Attack-Monsanto Tumbles Down@
    No (s) on new
    Please email at

  27. Liesl
    February 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Don’t forget the socio-economic and environmental impacts of GMOs.

  28. government auctions
    March 29, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    I am actually grateful to the owner of this website who has shared this great article at at this time.

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