Cookies in the clear

Girl Scouts of USA announced last week that the peanut butter in their cookies isn’t involved in the current Salmonella outbreak.

“We want to assure our loyal customers that the cookies in our cookie product program are safe,” said CEO Raslean Allen of the Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a recall Jan. 28 of all peanut butter after some products from the Peanut Corporation of America may have contained Salmonella Tphimurium.

Girl Scouts said their two bakers, ABC Interbake and Little Brownie Bakers, do not receive their peanut butter from PCA.

According to a FDA press release, the contaminated products were found at one of PCA’s plants in Blakely, Ga. The FDA has determined the company has distributed potentially contaminated products to more than 100 firms. Peanut butter and peanut paste can be used in different products such as ice cream, candy, cereal and crackers.

From Jan. 9 to Jan. 27, the FDA completed an inspection of the facility and found that the plant was not in compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices, which is required by the FDA. The FDA said there were improper cleaning programs and procedures in the plant that may have contributed to the outbreak.

However, the Girls Scouts are confident their cookies are not affected and consumers should still buy the sweets.

Victoria Adams, membership-marketing consultant of the local Girl Scouts, said cookie sales are essential to the organization for funding and events for the girls.

“Without that money Girl Scout troops would be unable to purchase badges and patches,” Adams said.  “They would be unable to participate in activities such as weekend events, programs, travel and they would also be unable to give back to the community through service projects.”

Adams said the girls choose a project that affects their surroundings and use cookie sales to help the activity follow through.

“Without the money, they can’t make positive changes in their community,” she said.

The Girl Scouts of USA Web site said the revenue from cookie activities helps keep girl scouting affordable. The girls do not receive the money individually, but they decide as a troop or group how to spend it. Product sales like Girl Scout cookies are the organization’s largest source of income. The organization said the purpose of the cookie program is to help all girls realize their potential and become strong, confident, and resourceful citizens.

Some students are still excited the Girl Scout cookie season is finally here, despite the peanut butter scare.

“The warning doesn’t bother me because I don’t like peanut butter products, I like the Trefoils,” said 20-year old Camille Daniels, a third year general studies student from New York.

The Girl Scout cookie fundraiser began with preorders in January and cookie delivery begins Feb. 14.