Bradley may pass cupcake law

February 27, 2019

BRADLEY —Bradley resident Brooke Love might get an answer by next month on whether she can open a home bakery business, which now is against the law.

On Monday, the Bradley village board voted to take up the matter at its March 11 meeting.

Under the state’s five-year-old “cupcake law,” counties can pass ordinances allowing people to set up at-home bakeries that generate $1,000 or less per month in sales. It’s believed that towns have the same power.

In November, the Kankakee County Board rejected a cupcake law by a slim margin.

At Monday’s village board meeting, John Bevis, the county health department’s administrator, said the law would let home bakeries bypass his agency’s inspections, which the county’s 650 other food establishments must undergo. He said the cupcake law would increase the risk of food-borne illnesses.

Bevis said that in the 1990s, a Bradley restaurant suffered a salmonella outbreak, with 70 confirmed cases. No exact cause was determined, but the restaurant featured a dessert table where residents could make baked goods available, which Bevis said might have been the cause.

“These types of things can happen when a facility is licensed. How much more risk is there when the health department is not allowed to do an inspection unless there is a complaint or outbreak?” Bevis said.

Love said the law requires notice to customers that goods are made in home bakeries.

“It should be the consumer’s choice,” she said. “There are a handful of people in Bradley who are baking things out of their home. Many bakeries in the area started out in their homes.”

During a board debate, member Bob Redmond suggested additional standards besides what the state requires for home bakeries. Otherwise, he said, “we are advocating to wait for people to get sick before we investigate.”

He said he would like home bakeries to have inspections similar to other food establishments.

Member Lori Gadbois, however, said the village doesn’t have the staff to enforce rules for home bakeries. Still, she suggested requiring owners of home bakery businesses to take food handling classes.

Member Mike Watson proposed the board consider a cupcake ordinance that follows the language of the state law, but adds a requirement that home bakeries get business licenses. He said it was important to enact a measure that doesn’t overburden staff.

The board voted to consider his proposal on March 11.