“To save the citizens from themselves…”

…that was the line of the preamble of the Constitution I must have forgotten when I first read about a law in Pennsylvania which requires home kitchens to be inspected by the state if they produce anything for a bake sale:

Bill Chirdon, director of food safety for the state Department of Agriculture, said hundreds of people across Pennsylvania bake from home and sell those goods to the public. All it takes is an inspection. “There’s a law that you can do that in your home – if you can pass an inspection,” he said…

“You’re going to worry about some little old lady’s kitchen?” said Joe Sitko Jr., 60, of Industry, who had just sat down to dinner Friday at [a church affected by the law]. “I would compare the cleanliness of their kitchens any day against any factory baking desserts.” …

Chirdon said that there are 803 state-licensed homes in Pennsylvania following the state’s sanitation and equipment standards, and that anyone from the church who wants to make donations of homemade goods is welcome to undergo a kitchen inspection. A $35 fee allows the household to become a bakery for one year, and the agriculture department has offered free water testing.

This incredible invasion of privacy is made even more ludicrous by some affected churchs’ response of switching to store-bought goods for their bake sales. As Sitko pointed out, it seems highly unlikely that the factories in which those are made will be cleaner than even — heaven forbid! — an uninspected kitchen.

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