Cute Kid Can’t Sell Cupcakes: County

I know some folks may think there’s a good reason Illinois’ Madison County Health Department shut down 11-year-old Chloe Stirling’s cupcake business. But here’s what bugs me: If you are buying cupcakes from a kid, you KNOW they’re not being baked at Entenmann’s headquarters. And that’s a “risk” you are taking.

A society that doesn’t even allow microscopic risks is a society more obsessed with rules and liabilities than gumption and frosting. Me? I’m in the gumption/frosting camp. – L.

(Maybe Chloe can raise enough money for a non-time-delayed headset for the local reporter!)

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28 Responses to Cute Kid Can’t Sell Cupcakes: County

  1. Emily January 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Wow, Lenore!!! You must have posted this the moment I sent it to you. Anyway, you know this makes me angry. Adults can’t have it both ways–they can’t complain that kids are lazy and entitled, and then turn around and punish initiative. You know what would be a happy ending to this story? If Chloe’s schoolmates and/or soccer friends, and possibly other groups of people held a bake sale at school to help raise money towards building an industrial kitchen in her house.

  2. Christy Ford January 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Selling cakes out of her home is how Martha Stewart got started, when she was 9. Bureaucrats make me sick.

  3. Jeff January 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Good God, if our environment was really as dangerous as these people think, humans would have died out a long, long time ago.

  4. Coasterfreak January 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    “Selling cakes out of her home is how Martha Stewart got started, when she was 9.”

    And Martha Stewart ended up having to go to prison for insider trading. See, the authorities are simply trying to rescue this child from having to eventually go to prison. It all starts with selling cupcakes without a permit…


  5. lollipoplover January 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    So a busybody sees this in the paper and feels the need to call in the complaint to the Health Department. They need to be kept safe from this 11 year-old’s cupcakes. Oh, the humanity.

    I think this Health Department needs a few more calls or e-mails from rational citizens. Health Departments should protect, promote and enhance the health and well-being of all people in their community. Targeting 11 year-old cupcake makers just because you got a call does not benefit communities. Trust me.

    Contact Madison County Health Department at:
    Phone: (618) 692-8954
    Fax: (618) 692-8905

  6. Emily January 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    Here’s another novel concept–if people don’t think Chloe’s cupcakes are safe, they can buy their cupcakes somewhere else, or make their own, or go without. Three perfectly logical options that “protect people’s health and safety,” without stomping all over Chloe and her business.

  7. Donna January 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Oy. I really can’t think of anything else to say to this.

  8. Papilio January 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    They must have thought it was just a gateway crime toward selling space cakes!

    “Me? I’m in the gumption/frosting camp.” You cookie monster.

  9. Warren January 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Paula Deen got her start making box lunches for the fishermen and dock workers. Her sons would then run them out to the docks. I want her jailed.

    A upgrade the kitchen or build a new one? So you cannot start small and work your way up. You apparently have to go big or go home. Shameful.

  10. BL January 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    A commenter on the linked story defended the “Health” Department by raising the specter of cupcakes filled with rat feces.

    Hmmmm. Which cupcakes are more likely to contain rat feces? Ones coming from some large impersonal factory operation that chugs them out 1000 at a time with minimal human intervention? Or ones baked by the dozen in someone’s home kitchen?

  11. SKL January 29, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    Of course this is ridiculous.

    But the real reason I’m posting is that I thought your title said “can’t spell cupcakes.” Which doesn’t say much for my spelling….

  12. Lee Baldwin January 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Martha Stewart was busted for insider trading because she is an uppity woman & the boys were mad that her empire was getting too big.
    that said, the laws about start-up businesses, particularly those involving food are ridiculous. a home kitchen is almost always cleaner than a commercial factory. kids are prevented from traditionally kid run businesses (baking cookies/cupcakes, lemonade stands, lawn care, paper delivery, etc)by adults that stifle any creative ideas kids try with “too dangerous” or “unsanitary” or other bull… it’s just really sad.

  13. J.T. Wenting January 29, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    The real problem of course is that cupcakes are dangerous, all that fat and sugar give you heart disease and diabetes.
    The kid should be happy she was shut down rather than sued for damages by some lawyer starting a class action lawsuit to get compensation for future health problems by her customers!

  14. E Simms January 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    By Coasterfreak Wed Jan 29th 2014 at 2:30 pm

    And Martha Stewart ended up having to go to prison for insider trading. See, the authorities are simply trying to rescue this child from having to eventually go to prison. It all starts with selling cupcakes without a permit…

    No, Martha Stewart went to prison for lying about insider trading.

  15. Andy January 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    @Coasterfreak She was not imprisoned for insider trading, she was imprisoned for making false statement to FBI (eg. told she had not done it). She was not found guilty directly of insider trading.

    I remember this, because it did not made much sense to me.

  16. E Simms January 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    According to the article the girl mostly sells pre-orders to family and friends. She doesn’t mass produce cupcakes that are purchased by the general public lining up at her kitchen door.

    Is it possible that there is an exception for this type of operation? Has anyone checked what the law/rules actually say? It could be a case of a baby bureaucrat misapplying the law. She has **12** regular customers for God’s sake.

    You can’t always count on police officers/sheriffs/bureaucrats knowing the law or having the sophistication to interpret it.

  17. Havva January 29, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    Emily said:

    “Adults can’t have it both ways–they can’t complain that kids are lazy and entitled, and then turn around and punish initiative.”

    I’m pretty sure a lot of people think they can have it both ways. Look at any parenting conversation outside of here, and you see lots of. “Oh, the kid is only [some young but not too young age] they can’t do xyz, they are just too young, they don’t know any better than to [do something stupid]!” Do they ever talk about how to prepare a kid to do things? Or how to tell if a kid could learn? Not that I’ve seen.

    Then these people complain about teens because apparently we are supposed to teach them nothing, and expect the light to just come on one day. There were lots of people like that when I was growing up too.

    I can’t tell you how many times I would be quietly reading a book at the library while my mom went to the adult’s section a few feet away. Then some mom would come in spot me and complain loudly to everyone in the library that “Kids” (aka me), should never be left in the kids section alone, they will shout or climb on tables, or tear the place apart. Usually within moments of her complaining about me her kids were doing whatever she assumed I would do. And she might pull them off the table or pick up the books with out a word to her kids. And I would say:
    “Well then why don’t you tell your kids not to do THAT?”

    The reply usually involved them telling me I didn’t understand and that you couldn’t expect such things. And that I was not “normal.” And also informing me that my mother was “wrong” for having ever promised to punish me if I acted like. I’d tell her that her kids didn’t look stupid, but they would continue to act that way if she didn’t teach them that it wasn’t OK.

    … Come to think of it the whole thing must have been a funny. Must be why no one (especially not mom) ever stopped me from basically telling these moms off.

  18. Papilio January 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    @E Simms: Good point. She could just say that she *gives* those 12 people the cupcakes for free, but is happy to accept “donations” which of course have nothing to do whatsoever with said cupcakes…

  19. anonymous this time January 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    What about bake sales? No one has a commercial kitchen or gets inspected by the health department, but school are encouraging the peddling of these “unregulated” treats constantly.

  20. J G January 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    She should have started a cruise line. THEY can poison people, with impunity.

  21. Christina January 29, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    I’d have to look into IL law, but NY and Michigan both have exemptions for baked goods (i.e., “cottage industry” goods).

  22. Nobody January 30, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    The reason why things like this keep happening is because YOU keep voting for it. When you go to the polls and blindly cast your ballot for someone just because a “D” or an “R” appears next to the name you become part of the problem.

  23. Lola January 30, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Outrageous! And still she’s got to be grateful it was the Health Department that took matters in their hands, rather than the IRS! Not to mention someone accusing the Bellvelle News of encouraging child labour.
    O tempora, o mores, as someone said…

  24. Frederick Polgardy January 30, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    The rules and liabilities are there to protect big businesses.

  25. EricS January 30, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    This one is a give and take moment for the Free Range movement. I think the county is being a little stringent on an 11 year old selling cupcakes. There’s nothing wrong with a lemonade and cookie stands. Even cutting lawns to make extra cash for work well done. Do we really hit children doing decades old customs with legal mumbo jumbo? That’s ridiculous.

    However, those wouldn’t be exactly called “businesses” in the truest sense. Hand full of change isn’t exactly a considerable amount of profit (well maybe to the child). Just going by the article, it would seem that this little girl is making a real business out of her talents. Which I think is amazing. But it’s now considered a full fledged business, according to her, her parents, and now the community (thanks to the local paper). And by law, any legitimate business needs a license to sell. Permits if required. And paying income tax. That is just the nature of this country. With the Madison County Health Department using health issues as a concern. Which is just one of the ways all officials all over the country get at businesses, and generate money for the city or county. Politics.

    I’m also guessing the article was probably an idea to help drum up more business for her (free advertising), further legitimizing her cupcake and cake making to be a real business. I personally would have kept it on the down low, like she had for the last 2 years. There was no peep from county officials, till she went public. You also have to see it on the county’s side as well. If they were to let this go, there’s a good chance other local businesses would fight to stop paying license fees, permits, and not pay taxes either. Yes, there are those me, me, me people even in Madison County. It becomes a snowball effect. If one is going to make a business of it, make it legit. Otherwise, stick with your consistent clients, under the table. Use word of mouth between family and friends to spread the news.

    We can’t expect the world to change back in a short period of time. And we can’t go head to head with the system. But we can “work the system” to benefit the little guys…and girls. 😉 As the saying goes “don’t work harder, work smarter”.

    With that said, I would buy her creations. And recommend her to my family and friends. And no paper trails. lol

  26. C. S. P. Schofield January 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    “No, Martha Stewart went to prison for lying about insider trading.”

    Martha Stewart went to prison for denying she was guilty of a charge the government declined to take to trial. In a rational world the judge in the case would have freed Stewart and had the prosecutor whipped.

  27. Tsu Dho Nimh January 31, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    And then there is California … home-based entrepreneurs can sell their goods after passing a “food processor course” (which can be done online), properly labeling their goods and practicing common-sense sanitation when cooking and baking. Those who want to start their own cottage food business legally need only register or obtain a permit, as either a Class A or Class B operation.

    The two permits distinguish between the types of cottage food business an entrepreneur may want to run. Class A businesses are exempt from routine inspections, but can only engage in “direct sales,” i.e., straight to the customer. That includes farmers’ markets, bake sales and from the home business itself. Meanwhile, Class B operations require inspections, but also allow “indirect sales” to third-party retailers, like restaurants, bakeries, delis, groceries and food trucks.

  28. Kay February 4, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    I hate to be a downer here but am I the only one thinking this kid isn’t really making these cupcakes all by herself and selling them? They look a little too perfect to me. She may help, but methinks she is mostly a front for her mom.