- Chloe Stirling started Hey Cupcake two years ago so she could start saving for a car
- Parents told they must build a separate kitchen before Chloe can begin baking again
PUBLISHED: 10:27 EST, 30 January 2014
An 11-year-old girl has had her cupcake business closed down after Illinois health officials said it was breaking regulations.
Business had been good for Chloe Stirling, with orders coming in regularly for Hey Cupcake, but a feature in a local newspaper brought the schoolgirl’s business to the attention of the authorities.
Members of the health department contacted the family and told them Chloe couldn’t continue baking unless she had a separate kitchen and permits.
The ruling has put an end to Chloe’s ambitions. The baking fan had started her business so she could save towards a car for her 16th birthday.
How Chloe fell foul of food safety regulations in Illinois
Illinois State Food Sanitation Code sets out the regulations for making and selling food.
Rules include using a kitchen that has met health and safety requirements.
For home businesses, this means food must be prepared in a kitchen that isn’t also used for domestic cooking.
Kitchen equipment and supplies must meet state regulations.
The baking area must be inspected regularly and hold a valid permit.
Her family had supported her plans, with her grandparents buying a food mixer, her mother Heather promising to match her savings, and her dad Chad eating cakes that didn’t work out right.
But being able to build a second kitchen in their Troy home was just not possible.
‘We’ve already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in,’ Mrs Stirling told the St Louis Post Dispatcher. ‘But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?’
Health department spokeswoman Amy Yeager said they had no choice but to ask Chloe to close Hey Cupcake.
‘The rules are the rules. It’s for the protection of the public health. The guidelines apply to everyone,’ she said.
Sharon Valentine, environmental health manager at St Clair County Health Department, added: ‘If we let one person do it, how can we tell the person with 30 cats in their home that they can’t do it? A line has to be drawn.’
The local health department had been tipped off to Chloe’s baking business after she appeared on the front page of Belleville News Democrat at the weekend.
The feature praised the schoolgirl’s skills and revealed how she decided to open Hey Cupcake after taking a cake decorating class with her great aunt at Valentine’s Day.
Her mother told BND: ‘I get nervous when she’s making something for somebody [who’s paying] because I’m afraid it’s not going to work out, but she always makes it come out beautiful.’
After getting a taste for baking, Chloe set up her own business two years ago and has been making about $80 a week ever since.
She has made cupcakes for birthdays and baby showers, and also donates baked goods to charitable causes.
Chloe’s largest order was for 220 cupcakes for a charity event, and when a boy in her school was diagnosed with cancer, she donated cakes with frosting to match his favorite sports team to help raise money for his treatment.
While the 11-year-old, who has ambitions of having her own bake shop one day, admitted she was ‘bummed that I can’t make cakes for a while,’ she said she understood the health department’s ruling.
After people in her hometown heard that Chloe’s business had been forced to close, the schoolgirl has had several offers from licensed bakers offering the use of their kitchens.
All they want is the license and tax money otherwise they wouldn’t have some of those stinky food trucks off the highways – who despite paying a permit fee doesn’t mean its clean. Amazing little baker – she’ll go far despite the far-reaching power-hungry functionaries.
Ronald Reagan – “Man is not free unless government is limited.”