SANATOGA PA – Inside the Thriftway supermarket on High Street, and at other places where the hungry gathered, members of local Girl Scout and Brownie troops during the weekend (Jan. 24-25, 2009) began their annual push to fill stomachs and raise funds by selling boxes of cookies. They had particularly good news for lovers of the scouts’ peanut butter treats called Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos: they’re safe to eat.
None of the Girl Scouts’ eight different varieties of cookies available for sale this year contain peanut butter or paste suspected to be contaminated by salmonella bacteria, according to the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) national headquarters.
Tainted peanut products are said to be responsible for sickening 500 people in 43 states, including Pennsylvania. As of Saturday, more than 200 products made with the contaminated spread, distributed nationally from Georgia by Peanut Corp. of America, were being recalled and pulled from retailers’ shelves.
Scout cookies are not affected, scouting leaders said.
Neither of two baking companies licensed to produce Girl Scout cookies – ABC Interbake, and Little Brownie Bakers – bought peanut butter used in their recipies from PCA, and so are not involved in the current peanut butter salmonella scare, a GSUSA press release stated. “Food safety and quality are of the utmost importance to us,” it added.
On their own websites, both bakers posted separate notices attesting to the safety of their products. ABC Interbake pledged to “volunteers, parents, girls and customers of the Girl Scout Councils that work with us that the peanut butter in our cookies is not linked to the salmonella contamination.” Little Brownie Bakers said it was working “closely with all of our ingredient suppliers … as part of our goal to bake safe, great tasting Girl Scout Cookies.”
Customers apparently appreciated the reassurance. Desiree Colon and Mary Jo Brurner were selling cookies Sunday afternoon at the Thriftway, 2190 E. High St., possibly as the perfect snack between college basketball games. Both are members of Girl Scout Troop 7366, which meets Monday nights at Grace Lutheran Church in Pottstown.
GSUSA reported “all of the proceeds – every penny – from a local council’s cookie activities remains in the area where the cookies are sold.” In addition to raising funds, it added, the sales help “girls practice useful life skills like planning, decision-making, and customer service.”
Photo of plated cookies by Sadaqah via Flickr