Friday, February 23, 2007

...Then They Came for the Thin Mints...

Conservatives have warned for decades about the creeping threat of nanny-statism. We said that responsible, informed adults have a right to choose whether or not to smoke, to drink, and to eat fatty foods. And in our argument, we always asked 'what will be next, and where will this end?'

Liberals accused us of alarmism, and said that we were trying to scare people - that we were trying to scare people with extreme scenarios.

Well, who's exaggerating now?

The Girl Scouts have marked their 90th year in the cookie business by getting most of the artificial fat out of all varieties of their iconic treats, which had been under attack by a few health-focused consumer groups.

The change reflects a movement by the scouts in recent years to add an element of health consciousness to their annual bake sale.

This year, about half of all Girl Scout troops are also offering a sugar-free cookie called the Little Brownie. A cookie with reduced saturated fat, the Cartwheel, was also introduced last year.

Tinkering with a popular recipe is something no cook does lightly, and Girl Scouts of the USA Vice President Denise J. Pessich said the changes were only made after the two commercial bakeries that make the cookies found trans-fat alternatives that didn't compromise flavor, texture or shelf life.

Pessich said she was confident fans would notice few differences. The recipe changes have also given troop leaders an opportunity to talk more about the importance of eating right, Pessich said.

"They know that, for one thing, you need to make informed choices. You need to read labels," she said...

The first "zero trans" Girl Scout cookies made their debut in the fall of 2005, including a reformulated version of the top-selling Thin Mint. The remaining varieties had most trans fats eliminated by last October.

Consumer reaction is still developing. Most troops take their orders in January and begin deliveries in late February or early March.

But — taste aside — the initial feedback has been positive, said Anna Ho, who organizes sales for Troop 805 in Parsippany, N.J.

I do admire the Orwellian construction of the rationale behind this: 'people know they have to make informed choices.' I would not have said that in justifying the denial of a choice.

Forget gay scout leaders; this is an even more devastating deviation from tradition.

No comments: