Officials close 11-year-old’s cupcake business

An 11-year-old Illinois girl who started a cake and cupcake business was shut down by county health officials, when they read about her in the local newspaper.

Local Government Forces 11 Year Old Cupcake Entrepreneur to Shut Down BusinessChloe Stirling, a sixth grader, began selling — and sometimes donating — baked goods two years ago. She called her business “Hey, Cupcake!” But she doesn’t have a permit or a commercial kitchen.

“Cottage” food producers were legalized last year in California, reports the Bay Area News Group. Food prepared in home kitchens can be sold, though “local controls have created a crazy quilt of rules and fees, resulting in rules that work for some but erect hurdles for others.”

About 1,000 new microbusinesses have been created. In San Jose, Rula Sai mixes imported black tea, dried apricots and sunflower petals to create an aromatic Armenian Plum Tea. She can sell at the monthly Bay Area Homemade Market in Berkeley, but can’t sell online or at farmers markets in San Jose. “She hosts tea parties, but the city only allows two in-home clients at a time.”


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  1. Regulation of businesses preparing food is far from new; cake businesses were required to have their own, separate space and regular inspections when I was growing up in the 50s. The lady who made my wedding cake was not allowed to advertise or require payment because she used her family kitchen, even though it was cleaner before she started cleaning it than most people’s was after cleaning. That said, there are plenty of businesses that shouldn’t require any sort of licensing or inspection – braiding hair, using no chemicals at all, comes to mind. I suspect there’s a large underground economy in many places.