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11-year-old's 'business' shut down by health department

11-Year-Old's Cupcake Business Shut Down

Chloe Stirling, 11, didn't mean to make the news. All she wanted to do was make some cupcakes.

Chloe was saving to buy a car (her mom promised to match whatever she raised by the time she was 16) and only sold her treats to friends and family.

Then, a local newspaper ran a story about Chloe and the Madison County Health Department shut her down.

In the state of Illinois, you can't prepare food out of your home for the public without a certified kitchen. Chloe would have to cook up her cupcakes in a separate location, or the Stirlings would need to build an additional kitchen onto their home if Chloe wanted to keep selling her treats legally. She estimates that she made about a hundred cupcakes before getting the ax.

Even if Chloe wanted to get the necessary permits, she isn't old enough to take the classes.

The original story on Chloe's cupcakes was supposed to be a 'feel good' report about a delivery of her snacks to a local nursing home, but 'it caught the attention of the wrong people, and all this happened,' Chloe's mom explained.

Chloe and her mom refuse to place blame on any one person at the health department and totally understand why Chloe was shut down.

For now, Chloe's family is trying to find a space where she can keep the local government off her back and legally whip up batches of her beloved Oreo-stuffed cupcakes.

Join the discussion

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jpclarksville February 04 2014 at 12:44 PM

The government decked out in full riot gear and weaponry raids dairies that DARE to sell raw milk products to people that seek out and WANT the product. A young girl in Portland was encouraged to panhandle rather than try to sell some mistletoe to raise money for her braces. Watch a few episodes of John Stossel where he exposes the idiocy of government overreach and regulations. The government doesn't want successful people, they want everyone poor, uneducated and dependent. Soon we'll all be back to the feudal system.

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Judith February 04 2014 at 12:07 PM

How about a bakery in the area donating the use of their facilities for a few hours a week? It would not only be a really nice thing to do but the publicity would be fantastic for both Chloe and the bakery.

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1 reply
Tammy Judith February 04 2014 at 1:32 PM

Because then the bakery and their license would be assuming liability, thats why it is so hard to get a legal kitchen to let you use their facility. If her mom and dad want her to do this then it is their responsibility to rent or buy a place for her to use and they absorb the expenses or make her pay a small portion of what is made back to them. The problem is, even if she found space she is not old enough to take the food prep and handling courses.

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teachcoa17 February 04 2014 at 12:04 PM

How did we live so long ? We drank lemonade from front lawns, ate food from bake sales, and even ate the Christmas cookies the neighbors sent over, we should all be dead. Doesn't the health department have enough to do?

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2 replies
chuckpitboss teachcoa17 February 04 2014 at 12:08 PM

High schools, churches by the thousands have bake and "goody's"sales. Where are all these "wonderful" health people then?

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2 replies
happy2bgridfree chuckpitboss February 04 2014 at 12:19 PM

These bake sales are becoming a thing of the past. Too many issues with people getting sick from questionable cleanliness in home kitchens, "ingredients" that should not be in the baked good and allergies. It's not always in the news .... but it happens.

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Tammy chuckpitboss February 04 2014 at 1:33 PM

Many church and school bake sales are selling goods baked in their legal kitchens.

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fwlrcj teachcoa17 February 04 2014 at 12:18 PM

We were just lucky we didn't get sick and we would not have sued if we did.

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khiggins February 04 2014 at 12:52 PM

OMG this is what we have become... a nation of overclass and beaurocrats.. if it is truly remarkabel figure it out... it is supposed to be a 'fee society' those days are loooonnngg gone..

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specialrid February 04 2014 at 12:58 PM

This is a perfect example why businesses in America are so hard to start. There is a commercial that shows how Microsoft and many other businesses were started in garages. They were just lucky not to be caught by some code enforcement agency. To do things right you need big bucks behind you and in most cases that is not possible.

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cgssnavickas February 04 2014 at 12:58 PM

I wonder about all these churches and organizations that raffle off cakes and pies at their carnivals...Is what they're doing illegal too?

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2 replies
happy2bgridfree cgssnavickas February 04 2014 at 1:07 PM

Bake sales of any sort are becoming a thing of the past .... unless the goods are cooked / baked in a church's commercial-grade kitchen. All it takes is ONE child to have a lethal allergic reaction to an ingredient or ONE nutcase to put something harmful into a baked good from a home kitchen. We live in a different world than what many of you grew up in.

Example: In the 1940's, actor John Garfiled's 6-year-old daughter died after eating cookies at a birthday party that contained peanuts. The mindset back then was, "Oh, what a shame. Poor little girl" and that was the end of it.

Today, in many areas, schools that have children age six or under do not serve ANY item that has peanuts or peanut by-products because of the known danger.

It's a different world, and these rules are in place for a reason. Frankly, given the whackos out there, I'd be very hesitant to eat any home-made item that was not prepared by someone I know.

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1 reply
artie happy2bgridfree February 04 2014 at 1:34 PM

Ummm, these were sold to friends and family ONLY!!! I take it you never eat at a friend's house or a family member's house because it might be dangerous

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Tammy cgssnavickas February 04 2014 at 1:21 PM

Many times those goods are baked in the church kitchen which is inspected and licensed.

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King Timothy February 04 2014 at 12:55 PM

what about lemonaide stands, or hot chocolate stands?

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Len Bzura February 04 2014 at 1:47 PM

Actually I can see both sides on this one. When I was a boy, growing up in NJ, back in the early 60's I decided to try and sell ham and cheese sandwiches with lemonade, from a stand [read table] in front of our house. My dad told me that he didn't think I could do this, legally, without some sort of permit, but I thought ... "What are they going to do... arrest me?" About an hour after I started a police car pulled up and I figured the "jig is up." The officer got out, bought a sandwich and drink and drove off. The only sale of my entire retail food service career! Nice try, kid.

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I LUV LAUREN February 04 2014 at 1:22 PM

Although if she is cooking them and only selling to her family and friends. The Health Department has not case unless she is selling on public road or public sidewalk. If we don't stop Health Department abuse then next time families have a dinner party or family over for the holidays they will be force to buy permit.

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2 replies
amandatrebiano I LUV LAUREN February 04 2014 at 1:30 PM

Only if they are selling the food to ANYONE. Selling it is what crosses the line.

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revenbvh I LUV LAUREN February 04 2014 at 1:33 PM

She sold them to a nursing home I think thats what the beef was.

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James February 04 2014 at 1:58 PM

Chloe baby, keep going... let your Mom help you figure it all out, then get a website....the world will buy your cupcakes...your biggest problem will be figuring how to make enough cause we'll buy 'em... for sure! :-)

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