Church Fundraiser Turns Into Pie Fight

At St. Cecillia’s Catholic Church in Rochester, Pa., members were stunned when a state food safety inspector told them that they couldn’t sell homemade pies during events anymore ”” because they were breaking the law.

Guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks to Louise Humbert, a St. Cecilia’s parishioner and pie baker, about the decision and the reaction from church members.

Listen to it all from NPR.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

11 comments on “Church Fundraiser Turns Into Pie Fight

  1. Terry Tee says:

    This kind of thing hit the Women’s Institute, one of the doughtiest UK organisations and one of the finest. Inspectors began turning up at church fairs and the like and asking why the home made jams and marmalade and cakes did not have lists of ingredients. Long and the short of it: they do now have lists and the law allowed the WI to get round the kitchen inspection thing by each branch appointing a member as the Inspector. I gather it’s not a very popular job: imagine another lady coming to inspect your kitchen …

  2. elanor says:

    they’ll be going after the school bake sales next!

    just plain ridiculous …

  3. libraryjim says:

    Welcome to the Nanny State! It’s only going to get worse. Homemade crafts and toys are also being targeted due to similar laws.

  4. Rob Eaton+ says:

    We know WHY bake sales must have product from an inspected kitchen, don’t we? Somebody baked a pie in a manner or in a kitchen that was less than sanitary, somebody ate the pie, that same somebody got deathly ill (or even died), and PROTECTIVE legislation ensued. The insulting part here is the civil entity telling a home cook that her or his kitchen isn’t clean enough.
    Solution (since most church kitchens have only one or maybe two ovens, and baking as many pies as it takes for a fundraiser like this would be simply unfeasible):
    Negotiate a larger than $35 fee that the church pays (or everybody chips in on), and then the inspector spends 2 or 3 hours at one shot visiting all the home kitchens involved and issuing one permit with multiple addresses. Maybe $70, and 10 kitchens? Everybody’s happy, city code is enforced, the community hears about it by newspaper in the Food and Life section, free advertising, more pies sold, more funds raised.

  5. teatime says:

    When I was still teaching here in Texas, we were advised that we could have NO food brought from home or donated unless it was store-bought, pre-packaged stuff. That meant no bake sales or food for sale and no homemade food/goodies for class parties. (We had long ended most of the class birthday and Christmas parties anyway because of complaints from the Jehovah’s Witness families.)
    A way around it was to have food prepared in the school kitchen and to have one of the regular cafeteria workers supervising. Of course, we’d have to get that approved ahead of time through the superintendent’s office because the cafeteria worker would require more paid hours to be approved.

  6. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “That meant no bake sales or food for sale and no homemade food/goodies for class parties. (We had long ended most of the class birthday and Christmas parties anyway because of complaints from the Jehovah’s Witness families.)”


    Heavy sigh.

    Poor kids all around. It all sounds so much like a factory to me.

  7. jaroke says:

    I don’t doubt the health inspectors have a point. Nevertheless, I will continue to participate in bake sales and potlucks at my parish. We have many splendid cooks and bakers. Thusfar these events have not been inspected, although our parish hall kitchen was. It got a pass.

  8. Catholic Mom says:

    I used to belong to a kennel club that puts on one of the biggest dog shows in the U.S. We had our meetings once a month in the local American Legion Hall. While we were meeting, food would be prepared in the kitchen and then after the meeting we’d all have a delicious dinner. People used to bring a dog or two to the meeting with them if they felt like it. We were told that we had to either stop preparing the food or stop bringing the dogs as having dogs in the same facility (although not the same room) where food was being prepared was illegal. (Bearing in mind, of course, that the folks that were eating the food were the same people that were going home and eating three meals a day the other 29 days a month with the very same dogs.) We gave up the food. 🙂

  9. State of Limbo says:

    Another sign of the times, red tape and bureaucracy muddying up and shutting down the long held traditions of bake sale fundraisers. My mother had given me a heads-up about this story as I grew up not far from that town.

    To think of all the money the ECW at the church I grew up in raised by having bake sales, soup sales, card parties with luncheon. There was never any question of inspections or health codes.

  10. deaconjohn25 says:

    Is it any wonder our American Founding Fathers were virtually paranoid about government becoming too big, too powerful, too arrogant. People who believe in freedom and individual rights have got to start pushing back–strongly–or we will soon find ourselves nothing but slaves to state bureaucrats and government officials.
    Somewhere along the line, instead of folding–more people need to say go ahead and prosecute and be willing to follow Thoreau to jail to put in neon lights the Frankenstein Monster the government is becoming.

  11. libraryjim says:

    That’s one of the things the Tea Party was organized around — protesting intrusive government into all aspects of our lives.