Illinois health department shuts down 11-year-old girl’s cupcake business (spoiler alert; there’s a reason)

Chloe Stirling, an 11-year old from Madison County, dreams of one day running her own bakery. Starting at such a young age, the sky is the limit for her baking dreams. And if state and local regulators have their way, that bakery will, according to the Illinois Policy Institute, not be in Illinois.

“Hey, Cupcake!” is Chloe’s first start at a business, and she did well enough to earn $80 a week. But Chloe has been shut down by county regulators for violating onerous rules that vanilla cupcake 3require an 11-year old baker to finance a brand new and dedicated kitchen.

According to Illinois state law, food business run from home can’t be run out of a home kitchen. For an 11-year-old to start toward her dream in Illinois, she needs to overcome piles of regulations. A completely separate kitchen must be set up and outfitted with mandated equipment and supplies. It must then be inspected and issued a permit. It’s not enough for the family’s home kitchen to be inspected and permitted; they must build another kitchen.

Probably the roast beef prepared at home not licensed facility; 205 sick from PEI church dinner

There are now 205 illnesses from a church dinner in Prince Edward Island, up from 160.

The Chief Public Health Office began investigating a potential gastrointestinal outbreak Monday after notification that several people became ill after consuming a roast beef dinner prepared by volunteers as part of a fundraiser for Princetown United Church on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Information obtained by interviewing persons who purchased the meal indicates that the roast beef was the most likely source of the food-borne illness. Those who picked up their meal early in the afternoon were less likely to have become ill. Food testing is being conducted and it is expected to be several days before all results are known.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the roast beef was prepared at various sites including the homes of volunteers. This is contrary to the regulations for preparing meals for sale to the public. High-risk foods such as meat, poultry and fish must be cooked and prepared in a licenced facility.

A licence for sale of food for a church supper or community fundraiser can be obtained by contacting the Environmental Health Office of the Department of Health and Wellness which will conduct an inspection. Food handling and proper preparation procedures will be reviewed when the licence is issued.

In addition, it is recommended that persons who participate in serving or distribution of meals for the public participate in a food safety course which is offered free of charge by Environmental Health.

NYPD and Health Dept. yank illegal food carts from Washington Heights

DNA info reports New York City police pulled six illegally operating food carts off the streets of Washington Heights earlier this month as part of a sting operation with the Department of Health that was the latest in a series of crackdowns against area vendors.

Police swept Broadway between West 155th and 168th streets, hauling away six carts that sold assorted foods like Mexican tamales and Dominican pastelitos — a dough-wrapped cheese-filled snack — explained Capt. Brian Mullen, commanding officer of the 33rd Precinct.

The sting was part of a year-long operation conducted in conjunction with the Department of Health. Mullen said the DOH has conducted four raids so far this year.

This summer a coalition of community leaders formed a street vendor task force dedicated to finding a solution to decreasing congestion at commercial hubs where illegal vendors compete against retail stores and food vendors licensed by the Department of Health.

Hundreds of Texas food makers unlicensed, avoided inspections

Hundreds of businesses across Texas have been manufacturing and selling food without a state license and, in some cases, have escaped health inspections intended to ensure the safety of those products.

The Dallas Morning News reports this morning the businesses were flushed out in a statewide crackdown on unlicensed food manufacturers, begun last year by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the health department, said,

"Many of the companies we have discovered are small operations that were simply unaware they needed a state license. For the most part, they have been more than willing to get into compliance with us. … Some of them did have safety issues. Most were corrected on the spot or we’re working with them to get them into compliance."

The state has identified 355 companies that appear to be producing and selling a wide variety of eatable products – from barbecue sauce in Fort Worth to pepper jelly in Dallas to ice cream in Houston – all without obtaining a manufacturing license from the state.

The state went searching for unlicensed food manufacturers in the embarrassing aftermath of last year’s discovery of an unlicensed peanut-processing plant in West Texas.

The Plainview plant, owned by a subsidiary of Peanut Corporation of America, had operated for four years without any state-required safety inspections.

None of these new cases investigated so far rise to the level of the peanut plant, which closed in February 2009 after salmonella was detected in the plant. A subsequent state inspection found rodent parts and feathers in a crawl space above the peanut production line.

Sell food from home in New Mexico, get a permit

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that a rule change will go into effect today that requires those who sell home-based food products to have a permit issued by the New Mexico Environment Department.

That permit will allow the sale of certain foods that can be prepared in home-based food processing operations within state jurisdiction. Those foods include yeast and quick breads, cookies, cakes, tortillas, high-sugar pies and pastries, high-sugar jam and jellies, dry mixes (made from commercial ingredients), candy and fudge. Those foods do not support the rapid and progressive growth of infectious and toxicogenic microorganisms, including Clostridium botulinium, responsible for foodborne disease.

The food permit costs $100 a year. To obtain a permit to operate, a seller can submit an application to a local NMED field office. The application package is available at or at your local NMED field office.

As Ben and Brae wrote in the Wisconsin State Journal back in March, 2006, leave the umpires in the field — the health inspectors who make sure everybody plays by the rules. In this game we need to get along so it doesn’t leave a nasty and sometimes lethal taste in the mouths of players or spectators.