Girl Scouts: Thin Mints Killing Orangutans' Home

Duo protests cookies' palm oil recipe

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 20, 2011 4:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – America's cookie buyers shouldn't have to choose between buying Girl Scout cookies and saving orangutans, say a pair of Michigan girl scouts leading calls for the organization to change its recipe. Seventh graders Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, who have rallied Girl Scout troops across the country and set up a Web page, want the Scouts to either stop using palm oil or obtain it exclusively from sustainable sources, reports the Wall Street Journal. Palm oil production has caused the widespread destruction of orangutan habitats in Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Scouts—who sold 198 million boxes of cookies last year—say they can't produce a sturdy enough cookie without palm oil, and there's just not enough sustainably grown palm oil to go around. The Scouts scrubbed their Facebook page free of critical comments after a recent social media "Day of Action" from frustrated scouts and cookie buyers seeking change, the Huffington Post notes. For now, all 16 varieties of Girl Scout cookies contain palm oil. Click for more.

An aerial view of palm oil plantations in Merang , Sumatra.
An aerial view of palm oil plantations in Merang , Sumatra.   (Getty Images)
Seventh graders Rhiannon Tomtishen (left) and Madison Vorva are protesting the environmentally unsound use of palm oil in Girl Scout cookies.
Seventh graders Rhiannon Tomtishen (left) and Madison Vorva are protesting the environmentally unsound use of palm oil in Girl Scout cookies.   (Facebook)
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My troop is up in arms. They do not want to sell cookies next year. - Nicole Bell, a Lansing, Kan., leader

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