Bill to Ease Rules for Homemade Bakers

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By Stephanie Tyrpak

JACKSON COUNTY -- The story of the 11-year-old girl from Troy has sparked a debate about health codes for home kitchens. This week, a state lawmaker from Okawville introduced legislation to loosen rules for those small operations.

Representative Charlie Meier believes the rules go too far, hurting people who may bake at home to get a few extra dollars or serve at community events.
 
However, with the possibility of people getting sick, one local bakery can understand why health officials are so strict.
 
Selling baked goods for money is a full-time job for David Clayton, owner of Larry's House of Cake's in Carbondale.
 
His shop is inspected once a year by the Jackson County Health Department. The kitchen is built to certain codes.
 
"Requires you to have a three compartment sink," said Clayton. "So you have wash, a rinse, and a sanitize."
 
The employees also follow some important rules.
 
"You can't be wearing anything like flip flops or house shoes," said Clayton. "Wash your hands any time and all the time."
 
The rules are something that people cooking at home can sometimes ignore. That played a big role in an 11-year-old's business in Troy being shut down by health officials in January.
     
Chloe Stirling made cupcakes for friends and charities, hoping to raise money to buy her own car.
 
Many believe the crack down on her bakery is excessive.
 
"This country was made great by people starting their own business," said Representative Charlie Meier. "You got to start somewhere."
     
Meier  is now trying to change the rules for home kitchen operations. His bill is nicknamed "Chloe's Law."
 
"You realize you're taking that risk," said Meier. 
 
To qualify for exemption from health inspections, a person would need to have sales of less than a thousand dollars a month. The products would also need to notify people that they were "made in a home kitchen."
 
"You want to have a good healthy food supply for our American people," said Meier. "But it just seems like they're going a little too far now."
 
Right now, there is a cottage food law in place that allows people to make some homemade items for farmer's markets. You still have to get a license and can be inspected.
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