Food Safe Guru Daily – Cupcake Ban in MA not going to happen

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

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In an article in the Huffington Post, cupcakes, brownies and other baked goodies will be spared the chopping block at Massachusetts schools after Governor Deval Patrick backed down from planned regulations to prohibit the sale of the treats at bake sales during school hours.

“Nobody is interested in banning bake sales,” Patrick told reporters Thursday. “We are interested in student nutrition.”

The regulations, which had been set to take effect August 1, were approved by state health officials charged with overseeing a new school nutrition law aimed in part at battling childhood obesity.

The ban would have prohibited the sale of sweets in schools during the school day and 30 minutes before and after the start of classes. But parents and some school officials panned the ban, saying it would make it harder to raise needed cash to help pay for activities at the schools.

The regulations also caused a stir at the Statehouse.

Republican state Rep. Brad Hill, who sponsored an amendment in the Massachusetts House to lift the ban, said schools should be allowed to make their own decision on when to hold bake sales. The Massachusetts House adopted the amendment Wednesday striking down the prohibition. The Senate followed suit on Thursday.

Patrick said he would sign the measure lifting the ban, even as he defended public health officials who he said were just trying to follow the intent of the nutrition bill approved by lawmakers.

But the Department of Public Health made it clear that legislative action to lift the regulation wouldn’t be necessary.

Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach said that at Patrick’s direction the department will reverse the ban before its set to take effect. Auerbach said the ban will stay in effect, however, for goodies sold at school cafeterias during the school day.

Patrick signed the 2010 bill designed to encourage the state’s elementary and high schools to offer healthier food choices for their students. The legislation requires schools to provide fruit and vegetable snack options and was designed to limit sugary sodas and sweet snacks along with potato chips and other vending machine offerings.

The law instructed state public health officials to draft and approve regulations needed to enforce the measure.

I agree with the Governors decision. While healthy eating is and should be a priority for schools and limiting sweet snacks is important for sound nutrition, there is something about even considering a bake sale that irritates me. I recall sitting at a folding table laden with homemade sweets to raise money for class trips.  

What is worrisome is the cleanliness of kitchens making the baked goods and transporting the baked goods to school is warm weather. That’s the food safety side of me. The mother side of me is my child spending money on food that may have an allergen ingredient. After all, there is no nutrition on home-made baked goods. A child could get ill. Letting schools decide on a bake sale is a smart move by Governor Patrick. After all, he doesn’t want to be known as the anti-bake sale  governor come re-election time.

Posted in: Family safety