Two bakers are licensed to manufacturer Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies. Cookies made by one baker, ABC Bakers, will now carry a statement on the label warning: “May contain milk, peanuts, and coconut.”
The bakery states that nothing about the manufacture of these cookies has actually changed; the label warning has been added to provide transparency that these allergens may be present during manufacture. Whether the allergens are processed in the same line remains unknown.
“Consumers can be assured that all safety protocol around adhering to allergens and safety of allergens and safety protocols around cross-contamination of ingredients are adhered to,” said Caitriona Taylor, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.
Thin Mints from the other licensed manufacturer, Little Brownie Bakers, will not bear such a “may contain” warning. It should be noted from the FAQ on their site that peanuts and tree nuts are indeed processed in the facility:
We do use a “may contain” statement for peanuts and tree nuts when the product is produced on a line that shares equipment with another product that does contain peanuts or tree nuts. Scientific evidence has shown that consumers with peanut and tree nut allergies can have a severe reaction to amounts that are below the current detectable limits based on existing technology. For this reason, we have chosen to warn consumers allergic to peanuts and tree nuts of the potential for extremely low levels by using a “may contain” statement. The equipment is thoroughly cleaned between processes, and in all our facilities we follow Good Manufacturing Practice regulations promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Here is a report by CBS-TV Boston on the labeling change:
Please note that neither baker is a member of the SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Partnership comprising over 120 companies that provide detailed shared line and facility information regarding 11 allergens for their products. As such, we have no information other than what is publicly available. We urge the Girl Scouts to mandate their bakers join our Partnership and fully disclose their processing of allergens for the safety of the allergic community.
We remind our readers that, due to lax FDA regulations, the label cannot be relied upon to confirm that a product is safe from allergen cross-contact. We encourage all members of the food allergy community to call the respective manufacturer to confirm the potential for allergen cross-contact before consuming a packaged food product.
- Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies Will Now Carry Peanut Allergy Warning — CBS-TV Boston
- 2019-2020 Girl Scout Cookies Frequently Asked Questions — Little Brownie Bakers