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Deconstructing The Girl Scout Cookie

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

Well, my Girl Scout Cookies came. Usually I just eat them, but
this time I've been trying to find out more about them. Harder than I thought it would be.

The Girl Scouts buy them for about 85 cents a box. They sell them for $3.50 a box so the girls are pretty good businessmen. Last year they sold 200 million boxes - that's $700 million. As I understand it, The Girl Scouts get to keep about two thirds of that. I don't know exactly what they do with it. All kinds of good things they tell me.

One box label reads "Made for The Little Brownie Bakers in Louisville, Kentucky." Not "made BY" Little Brownie Bakers but "made FOR" Little Brownie Bakers. They're actually made by the giant cookie company, Keebler. Keebler is owned by Kellogg's but their name isn't on the box, either. Nothing simple about this.

The other company that makes Girl Scout Cookies is ABC Bakers. ABC Bakers is owned by Interbake Foods in Richmond, Va.

I've tasted most of these and they're pretty good.

One variety is called the Reduced Fat Lemon Cooler Cookie. I don't think "Reduced Fat" belongs in the name of a Girl Scout Cookie
but they've had complaints about the fat content and I suppose they're trying to address that. "Lemon juice solids?" I don't understand that, either. Is it juice or is it solid?

"Tagalongs" are peanut butter cookies. I like peanut butter and I like cookies but I've never liked peanut butter cookies.

A new variety, called a Cafe Cookie, is very good.

Everyone's favorite Girl Scout Cookie is the Thin Mints.

As much as I like Girl Scout Cookies, there are some things about them that I don't understand.

I read the labels and I liked the cookies better before I knew what was in them.

They all have partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

I made a lot of cookies in my lifetime and we don't have a drop of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in our kitchen. We don't have any lecithin or niacin either. The Girl Scouts put what they call "reduced iron" in them. How would a girl reduce iron?

The Cafe Cookies have caramel coloring in them. You shouldn't color a cookie.

They all have riboflavin.

I looked up cookies in my Fannie Farmer cookbook and Fannie Farmer doesn't use riboflavin.

Next time a Girl Scout tries to sell me cookies, I'm going to ask her about partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and about riboflavin.
By Andy Rooney

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