Government Shuts Down 11 Year Old’s Cupcake Business

In yet another example of disgraceful government overreach, The Daily Caller has a story today on how a municipality on the Illinois side of the St. Louis metro area has shut down the cupcake business of an 11 year old girl.  Their report:

The government has pulled the plug on an 11-year-old Illinois baker’s oven.

A day after a local newspaper ran a story about the young and ambitious Chloe Stirling, who operated a cupcake business out of her parents’ kitchen, the local health department came calling.

“They called and said they were shutting us down,” Heather Stirling, Chloe’s mother, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Officials told Stirling Chloe could continue selling cupcakes on the condition that the family “buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have.”

“Obviously, we can’t do that,” Heather Stirling told reporters. “We’ve already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer.”

The elder Stirling said that she was willing to get her daughter any necessary licenses or permits to operate a business, but could not meet the health department’s other demands.

“But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?” asked an astonished Stirling.

When reporters approached Amy Yeager, a health department spokeswoman, about the county’s decision to shut down Chloe’s business, she said that she was doing it for the sake of the public.

“The rules are the rules. It’s for the protection of the public health,” Yeager said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “The guidelines apply to everyone.”

“People will react how they choose to react,” she added. “But it is our job.”

Chloe originally started selling the frosted cakes under the name “Hey, Cupcake” to save up for a car when she turns sixteen.

And before the government took her oven mitts, the sixth grader charged $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake.

However, she was also known to donate her time and sprinkles to charity.

When a boy in her school was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, she donated cupcakes to help raise money for his treatment. Adding a personal touch, she made them orange and blue because he “was a really big Cubs fan.”

Her largest order ever, amounting to 220 cupcakes, was also for a cancer fundraiser.

So, the health department’s response to this ridiculous action is that they are doing it for the sake of the public.  Right, because  everyone knows that one of the greatest threats to our well being today is an 11 year old baking and selling cupcakes out of her parents’ kitchen.

There are so many things wrong with this, the least of which is another local bureaucrat drunk with power making the lives of those around them worse so they can feel better about themselves.  What is most disturbing about this is the message it sends not just to young kids, but to anyone who wants to start a business or take initiative to better themselves or their community.

First off, having laws that stringent are not necessary.  If a young girl wants to bake cupcakes in her parent’s kitchen and sell them for a few bucks to her neighbors, she should be able to without having to fill out a stack of paperwork as thick as War and Peace and go to a bank to get a business loan.  Plus, the local health official should exercise some discretion here.  If they want to do a quick walk-through of the house to make sure everything is clean where the baking is taking place, have at it.  Then, let the girl bake her cupcakes.  And, the market seems to like them.  If the cupcakes tasted bad or if they were being bakes in unsanitary conditions where her customers wound up in the emergency room because of food poisoning, the market would have put her out of business a long time ago.

If local nanny-staters continue to do these kinds of things (they have done it before in shutting down kids’ lemonade stands) what is a kid to do?  Some will fight back and perhaps become leaders in their own right as a result of this government overreach.  However, I can imagine some kids will take it to mean that no matter what kind of initiative they show in trying to start a business, it won’t matter in the long run because the government will find some way to take it away from them.  Who wants to live in a country like that?

Read the original article about her business here.

Read the Daily Caller piece on the shutdown here.




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  • qtdb7

    Thomas Jefferson was one of our founding fathers:
    When the people fear the government, there is TYRANNY.
    When the government fears the people, there is LIBERTY.

  • hrandym

    Our government, at all levels, has their nose in too many of our private activities. I understand the Health Department rules. They are appropriately applied to large, commercial operations where there are hired workers and sanitation is a management responsibility. There is no need for the Health Department to get involved on the level of household kitchen baking, even if the products are sold at a bake sale or just to small groups. Next thing you know, covered dish luncheons will be on the chopping block.

    Sometimes Health Department rules/rulings are very arbitrary as well. I was a Professional Engineer involved in the design of water treatment plants. On one of my designs, I was told by a reviewer of my plans I had to have a backup system for one of the operations. The operation in question was what we call a side-stream, one that could be discontinued for short periods of time for maintenance without affecting performance of the mainline operation. The operation in question had some simple mechanical parts, not easy to damage. I asked the reviewer how the mechanism could be damaged. He said that what if some one dropped a manhole cover (about 250 lb, +/-) on it. I suggest to him that we install a metal detector at the entrance to catch anyone trying to sneak in carrying a 250 lb. manhole cover.

  • Laddie_Blah_Blah

    Megan Kelly had that little doll and her mom on, at the end of her show, last night. Even the little one had a laugh at the government’s expense. So what do they do there with church bake sales? Or school bake sales? Or charitable bake sales of all kinds?

    If the local law only applies to 11-year-olds, then "the law is an ass."

  • IndieDogg

    If the family kitchen is a health hazard, shouldn’t the state remove the child from the home? After all, aren’t they the health police for everyone?

    Yes, the "public" needs protection — from the Health Department. Perhaps it should be re-named the Stupid Department.

    How absurd is this? Chloe could give cupcakes away all day; but she can’t sell them. In other words, she can kill the unsuspecting public. She simply can’t charge for it.

  • Kathleen

    Husband wanted to make low-sugar/sugar free chocolate candy treats to sell out of our home. We went to a meeting at a library where we found out the state government won’t let you do that unless you have a "commercial kitchen." If that kid had baked her cupcakes in my state, she’d be all right; but because hubbie’s chocolates are all done on top of the stove, it’s no go out of our own kitchen. We’d have to rent a commercial kitchen for him to do it, and those are hard to find and costly to rent.

    We were very, very, very discouraged. This was going to be a way for him to get out of a dead-end job he hates and do something he loves. :-(

  • Palinprodigy

    They love to say two things, #1 it’s all about public safety, #2 were not saying you can’t do that, were just saying that to do that you will have to spend an enormous amount of money to do so! Translation-I have a lanyard and on that lanyard I have a badge that say’s I can tell you to do or not do any Flip-pen thing I want to!

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