Prosecutor Backs Girl’s Cupcakes Enterprise

Southwestern Illinois prosecutor Tom Gibbons is lobbying for sixth-grader Chloe Stirling, whose home-based cupcake business was shut down after county health officials concluded that her $200-a-month operation did not comply with state law.

TROY, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois prosecutor is lobbying for a sixth-grade girl whose home-based cupcake business was shut down after county health officials concluded her operation ran afoul of state law.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said he wants to amend on Chloe Stirling's behalf a 2-year-old Illinois Cottage Food Operation Act that allows people to make certain food items in a home kitchen to sell to the public if the food was to be sold at a farmers' market, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Thursday.

Working out her family's kitchen, the 11-year-old girl from Troy just northeast of St. Louis had been selling her cupcakes for two years to raise money to buy a car someday. But the county's health department shut down her $200-a-month operation last month after concluding her kitchen wasn't a commercial one requiring such things as a permit and inspection, and that Chloe hadn't taken a mandatory health safety course.

Chloe's recourse was to build a separate kitchen adhering to state regulations or to work out of a certified space somewhere else. During a meeting Wednesday of a county health department committee, Gibbons said there are tentative plans to build a commercial kitchen for the girl.

State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, has discussed introducing a measure that would allow home cooks to produce goods in their kitchens and sell them publicly. To Gibbons, the change is "a simple solution."

The county's public health administrator, Toni Corona, questions whether such an amendment is necessary, saying that when it comes to food safety "we have excellent laws on the books."


Information from: Belleville News-Democrat,

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