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Bake Sale Ban Gives Nod to Store Bought Over Homemade

By jeannesager |

bake-sale-cupcakes-300x225If you’re a parent who thinks homemade is the way to go, a new rule in New York City schools will leave you baffled.

After first banning bake sales outright, the city has compromised by agreeing to let a certain amount of pre-made foods go on the auction block for fundraisers.

Yes, you read that right – pre-made, store bought foods just got the nod over wholesome homemade goods.

The reason, according to CBS News, is school officials can’t guess the content of homemade foods, and store-bought brands carry the nutrition content. The whole reason for the proposed ban was childhood obesity, so the push toward gauging the nutritious content of foods is supposed to help assuage that concern.

Except as many parents have pointed out, the advantage to going homemade is that we can avoid a lot of the preservatives and other unhealthy things that are slipped into pre-packaged foods. The new rules limit the bake sale items to a 200-calorie per serving limit, but that doesn’t do much to keep out high fructose corn syrup.

As a parent, I try to limit how much sweet stuff  my daughter consumes, but I confess I’d prefer she eat a batch of my home baked brownies than a pre-packaged container.

Buying at a bake sale, I love testing out the concoctions coming out of other parents’ kitchens.  And the urge to buy bake sale goods is usually turned off when I’m faced with a table full of pre-made foods. I’d rather flip some money in the jar for the charity and go off on my merry way. It defeats the purpose of a bake sale.

A local school tried something similar to this a few years back – they banned all parents from sending homemade goodies in their kids’ lunches for much the same reason. There was no calorie content on the outside, and they claimed they feared parents weren’t making things in the safest manners at home. In other words – we don’t have restaurant kitchens, so we can’t cook healthy food for our kids.

Considering the American Academy of Pediatrics told us last year one of the keys to fighting childhood obesity is to kick out pre-packaged, processed foods, why is there this push in the other direction by our schools? Sure, store bought foods are easier to deal with, but considering teachers complain that today’s parents are lazy perhaps it’s time the pot starts examining itself before it points fingers at the kettle.

Image: Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake, flickr

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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9 thoughts on “Bake Sale Ban Gives Nod to Store Bought Over Homemade

  1. GP says:

    Wow…I totally agree with you. Not to mention the fact that people can make choices for themselves. I thought maybe it was a peanut/allergy thing, but this is ridiculous.

  2. DCMama says:

    Yeah. I assumed this was an allergy thing. Our daycare prohibits homemade food for allergy reasons. I still think its a little extreme, but at least the rule actually achieves the stated goal.

  3. jenny tries too hard says:

    My kids’ school claims the peanuts thing. Of course I didn’t find this out untill I showed up with 40 homemade cupcakes for my twins’ separate classes on their birthday. Because I had told them cupcakes were coming, I had to run to the store and buy a bunch. And take 40 cupcakes home. Guess whose coworkers got cupcakes that day?

  4. jeannesager says:

    Jenny – Babble bloggers love cupcakes, we are not too good to take schools’ castoffs!

  5. Sara says:

    It’s also a food safety thing. You don’t know what their kitchen looks like and if they washed their hands.

  6. GP says:

    Right. Because industrialized food processors are so very sanitary and clean. I know they have to adhere to FDA standards, etc. I guess I’m “just sayin’”

    I, for one, lament the passing of an era where one could trust their kids’ classmates’ parents, as members of the community, to have clean kitchens and be on the up and up. Alas, to many, “home baked” now would mean baking from a store-bought mix, anyway, which would likely include hydrogenated oils and other chemicals that I would personally not use or feed my kid.

  7. [...] economics, here’s another one! Recalls happen. A lot. And kids, you can never be too sure the food that comes out of a factory is good for your [...]

  8. PlumbLucky says:

    Yet again bureaucracy proves that it lacks common sense ;-) .
    I do the birthday baking for my company – everyone gets a cake for their birthday at the office. And no, I don’t do mixes. Somehow, nobody has ever gotten sick, and I’d be willing to bet that the frequent fat pills found in our kitchen (for those in the non-construction world – those are donuts and pastries brought in by vendors) do far more damage than the cake or so a month around here :-)

  9. catherine kelly says:

    I am trying to fight our school district on forcing us to provide store bought goodies at holiday parties. What was the outcome of this bake sale? Did it mobilize parents? I would love some feedback. I haven’t found any data showing a child was harmed by homemade foods at school.

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