It’s legal to sell some homemade foods in Arizona but not tamales. Here’s a look at what the state allows

In Arizona, people can make cakes, cookies, fruit pies, tortillas, breads and other food in their homes for commercial sales under the Cottage Food Program administered by the state Department of Health Services.

The Legislature passed a bill in April that would have expanded the program to include a long list of additional foods that require refrigeration and include perishable ingredients such as butter, eggs and meats.

Among them are many foods often already sold, although illegally, outside stores and in parking lots, such as tamales, empanadas, pupusas and posole.

Gov. Katie Hobbs, however, vetoed the bill, citing concerns it would lead to an increase in food-borne illness.

When did the Cottage Food Program start?

The program began in 2011 after the Legislature changed the law to allow people to produce certain non-perishable food, known as “shelf stable,” for sale. The law was amended in 2018 to add fruit jams and jellies, dry mixes made with ingredients from approved sources, honey, dry paste and roasted nuts.

What are some foods currently approved under the program?

There are about 19 types of foods currently approved for sale under the program. The common types include bread, fruit jams and jellies, tortillas, cakes with hard icings or frostings, cookies, brownies and fudge, scones, honey and kettle corn.

What are the requirements for selling food under the program?

People who want to sell homemade food must first complete a food handler training course and then register for the program, which is free. Homemade foods for sale must be labeled with the name and registration number of the food preparer, a list of all ingredients and the production date. The label must also include a disclaimer stating that the product was produced in a home kitchen that may process common food allergens and is not subject to public health inspection. There is no cap on sales.

How is the program enforced?

The Arizona Department of Health Services investigates complaints about the sale of food not approved under the program “from a place of education, not punitiveness,” said Jesse Lewis, a spokesperson for the department. Program staff explain the process to help food vendors become complaints and do not fine people who are not in compliance, he said.

The department does refer complaints to counties, which have their own process to investigate and take action, Lewis said.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: What is Arizona’s Cottage Food Program? Learn the basics

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