And along with $400 million worth of cookie orders, the national office of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has received a number of concerns about the cookies saying, among other things, that child labor is used to produce the chocolate that covers Thin Mints — an allegation Girl Scout officials deny. Critics also charge that Girl Scout cookies are contributing to the American obesity epidemic with high levels of unhealthy trans fats, particularly in their newest cookie, Animal Treasures, a shortbread treat featuring endangered animal imprints. Says Jennifer Romback of the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, “I’d like to think that Girl Scout cookies are the least of our worries.” Indeed.The research department of the girls’ organization — yes, they have a research department! — is currently studying the role of the organization in education about nutritional issues. One suggestion for the “healthy living” initiative the group will unveil later this year includes a national cooking contest to produce a healthy, natural Girl Scout cookie. Do I smell a batch of organic macaroons?

Update [2005-3-9 15:3:57 by Sarah van Schagen]: While we’re on the topic of not-technically-environmental-but-so-funny-we-couldn’t-pass-it-up news, I’ll point to another NYT column, this one about McDonald’s. Which, as you might have heard, is also contributing to America’s obesity epidemic. The fast-food giant yesterday introduced a new marketing campaign promoting exercise as a side order for your next 560-calorie Big Mac (many more than a Girl Scout cookie, I might add).

The campaign will feature new TV adverts including several featuring celebrity athletes such as tennis sibs Venus and Serena Williams. Others will feature animated drink cups, straws, and burgers exercising. Yet another actually tells viewers “maybe you should spend less time with your TV.” I’m lovin’ it.

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