Health dept. director talks cupcakes, raw milk

By Jim McCabe on June 25 at 1:43pm

Local health officials are reminding Morgan County residents that home baking operations like the one that inspired the “Cupcake Bill” are still regulated on a county-by-county basis.

Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation earlier this month after a 12-year-old girl’s cupcake operation was shut down by the Madison County Health Department because it didn’t meet commercial standards. The law requires sellers to tell consumers the product was made in a home, among other things.

The law applies to home kitchen businesses making less than $1-thousand monthly.

However, as Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter noted on this morning’s edition of WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?”, the legislation includes a provision that says municipalities can still ban the sales.

“One of the requirements of the new law is that the home kitchen be located in a location of local governing body that has adopted an ordinance allowing direct sales of baked goods. We currently are not in a county or local governing body that has allowed that, so it is still currently not allowed in Morgan County until an ordinance is passed allowing such,” explains Bainter.

“That’s kind of the misconception: everyone thought that as the governor signed that into law, now in the state of Illinois you can do home baked goods. That’s not exactly true.”

Bainter covered a wide range of topics during this morning’s interview. He also talked about Senate Bill 3157, which he says allows for more regulation of raw milk, but also makes it more readily available.

Bainter says anyone who wants to purchase unpasteurized milk goes directly to the producer.

“The legislation was sold at making raw milk available. Well, raw milk has been available. It hasn’t always been something we’ve wanted to advertise and not necessarily on the shelf of your local grocery store. We definitely want to prevent that,” he says.

“Because a lot of times, public conception is that you walk in and you see something and it’s organic or its whole or its raw, it must be better for me. There is a significant risk that goes along with consuming raw milk. There’s a lot of food-borne illnesses that can be related to it- listeria, campylobacter, salmonella, but there are a group of individuals out there that see it as a health benefit,” Bainter continues.

The measure passed both the House and Senate on May 20th. It was sent to Governor Quinn’s desk last Wednesday.

You can listen to the full interview with Bainter here: