10/09/2013 21:09 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 18:58 EST

Girl Guide wants GMO-free cookies

A nine-year-old Girl Guide in British Columbia and her mother have started an online petition to pressure Girl Guides Canada to use organic ingredients in their cookies.

Maya Fischer of Victoria, B.C., says she has stopped eating and selling Girl Guide cookies because they contain genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as GMOs.

- Learn more about GMOs

Most processed foods in Canada contain at least some genetically modified ingredients. The term "genetically modified" refers to the alteration of genetic material. Specifically, it means the genes of one organism have been "cut out" and then "pasted" into another organism.

Genetically modified plants are often created to resist disease and eliminate the need for pesticides. Desired characteristics, such as a hardier texture, higher nutritional value or faster growth, are chosen to produce a kind of "super food."

However, GMOs have been the source of much public debate regarding their necessity and safety.

In Canada, companies are not required to label products that contain GMOs, but in the European Union there have been regulations requiring such labels for more than a decade.

Girl Guides Canada's B.C. Council told CBC News that switching to organic ingredients for their cookies is financially unrealistic because it would mean a higher price for the buyer of the box.

Fischer, however, says she started the petition to live up to the Girl Guide promise.

"Girl Guides teaches girls about healthy living, respect for the environment and taking action for a better world," her petition reads.

"In fact, the Girl Guide's Motto that we both know off by heart is: "I promise to do my best, to be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada; I will take action for a better world." We are living up to this motto by campaigning for a better world."

As of 6 p.m. PT Wednesday, more than 22,000 people had signed Fischer's petition.