Strange Laws about baked goods?

I had a friend about 10 years ago who owned some small fastfood restaurant. His mom helped him out. One day, she brought in some homemade cream puffs to give away for free to the customers. The same day, the state health inspector came and said that she couldn’t do that.
Somehow, I have it in my head that baked goods are regulated differently, either at the state or national level. Is this a hallucination on my part, or are there really strange laws concerning baked goods? I can’t see why there would be, because most restaurants don’t seem to be too careful about either one.


I doubt it has anything to do with baked goods per se - it’s just against the rules to bring in food that wasn’t prepared in a certified environment.

It’s generally against local health codes to sell any prepared food that was not prepared in an inspected, commercial kitchen.

There are exceptions for things like charitable bake sales.

I’m sure it varies depending on local regulations, but AFAIK you generally aren’t allowed to sell food prepared in home kitchens - BUT there can be exceptions for certain kinds of baked goods - NOT those that are potentially dangerous if not properly refrigerated (like those with a cream filling).

(And, as noted above, church bake sales and the like may be exempt)

EDIT: for example see here.

Thanks for the help and quick responses, guys!


FYI, here is an account of 600 people contracting salmonella from stuffed ham at a church festival.


I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but you’re not allowed to sell food that was not prepared in a certified kitchen.

Sounds like a half baked law to me.

its a cream puff conspiracy I tell ya!

Don’t get burned by an odd law or two. Even if you skip a half-baked law, your’e cooked.

But as the OP originally said, the cream puffs were being given away, not being sold.

I’ve noticed a few businesses that don’t have liquor licenses when they open, so they just give away the booze to attract customers.

I can’t see how this that different.

So what.
If they had a “free day” at the bakery, does that mean they can ignore health regulations on that day?

If you have a retail business, whether or not you charge for the food is irrelevant in this case. You are still conducting business. The health department rules control what food you can distribute no matter what word you use to decribe the act.

Also, I’ve never heard of giving away alcoholic beverages without a liquor license. In many jurisdictions a customer can bring their own bottle to a restaurant, but if a business provides liquor for free I wouldn’t think it was any different than selling it.

Also the free liquor, if it exists, would presumably be sealed and packaged by a known manufacturer in their own licensed and inspected distillery, rather than some home made (and quite illegally made) alcohol made by the storeowner’s mother.

The ones that aren’t hemmorhaging money doing this are shut down pretty quickly. As a general matter, charging cover and calling the liquor “free” is also a violation.