Australia has decided to blow out the candles on a birthday tradition.

The country’s National Health and Medical Research Council has instituted new rules declaring children can no longer blow out the candles on birthday cakes in school.

And it’s all in the name of good health, since officials have determined blowing out candles is a way of spreading germs.

Australia's Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care, Kate Elliss, attempted to justify the controversial move in a statement, which read, in part, "We introduced new national standards to lift the quality of child care across Australia because we believe parents deserve peace of mind when they drop their child off they are receiving quality care to a high standard.”

So, what are parents to do when their little bundle of joy wants to celebrate his or her birthday with their friends with some sugary cake-battered goodness? According to the new guidelines:

To prevent the spread of germs when the child blows out the candles, parents should either: provide a separate cupcake (with a candle if they wish) for the birthday child and enough cupcakes for all the other children [or] provide a separate cupcake (with a candle if they wish) for the birthday child and a large cake that can be cut and shared."

Parents are pretty outraged by the new policy, claiming exposure to germs can help build immunity.

Australian Medical Association President Steve Hambleton summed up the frustration many people feel by saying, "If somebody sneezes on a cake, I probably don't want to eat it either. But if you're blowing out candles, how many organisms are transferred to a communal cake, for goodness sake?"

[Daily Telegraph]