People love fresh-baked cookies and cakes right out of the oven. Yet selling many types of homemade food was illegal in Arizona until 2011. That’s when the state adopted rules to allow direct, in-person sales of nonperishable homemade foods that do not require refrigeration. The law was amended in 2018 to allow even greater freedom.
Arizona cottage food types
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Cottage food producers in Arizona may sell homemade foods that do not require time or temperature control for safety. Examples include most baked goods, fruit jams and jellies, fruit pies, dry mixes, dry pasta, roasted nuts, honey, candies, roasted coffee beans and popcorn. Unapproved items include salsas, sauces, fermented and pickled foods, meat, fish, tamales, beverages, cheesecakes, pumpkin pies, sweet potato pies, pecan pies, syrups, cakes with custard fillings, and pet foods. The Arizona Department of Health Services provides a more complete list of approved and unapproved cottage foods…
Arizona cottage food venues
Arizona cottage food producers may sell directly to consumers, including from their homes. Arizona also allows the sale of homemade foods to online buyers with mail delivery. Arizona also allows cottage food producers to sell through retail outlets like grocery stores and restaurants.
Getting started in Arizona
Arizona residents must register for the Arizona Cottage Food Program before selling homemade food. Prior to registration, participants must complete a food handler training course. Some counties issue county-specific food handler cards. Other counties offer online training. Arizona does not require home inspections.
Arizona cottage food labeling
Arizona cottage food producers must package their foods at home with an attached label. Labels must include the name and registration number of the Arizona cottage food producer, a list of ingredients, the production date, and the following statement: “This product was produced in a home kitchen that may process common food allergens and is not subject to public health inspection.” Home address is not required on the label, following a rule change on July 1, 2019.
Arizona cottage food facts
Myths about cottage food abound. Here are the facts:
- Cottage food is safe. Critics who talk about the risk of food-borne illness give hypothetical examples of what could go wrong because real-world cases are rare or nonexistent.
- Cottage food is local. When neighbors trade with neighbors, money stays in the local economy.
- Cottage food is transparent. People who buy from a cottage food producer know what they get. If they have questions about ingredients, sourcing or safety, they can ask.
- Cottage food creates jobs. Many homemade food producers use their income to provide for their families. Others seek a secondary or supplemental income. By 2017 Arizona had more than 6,100 cottage food businesses registered in the state.
- Cottage food empowers women. IJ cottage food research shows that most cottage food producers are women, and many live in rural areas with limited economic opportunity.
- Cottage food expands consumer choice. Some stores simply don’t sell what you want. This is especially true if you have a gluten-free, peanut-free, halal, kosher or vegan diet. Cottage food fills market gaps, giving consumers more options.
Arizona cottage food resources
As part of its Food Freedom Initiative, the Institute for Justice provides a variety of resources for home bakers and other food entrepreneurs. These include:
- Model Food Freedom Act from the Institute for Justice guides activism efforts at state capitols nationwide.
- Flour Power: How Cottage Food Entrepreneurs Are Using Their Home Kitchens to Become Their Own Bosses surveys 775 cottage food producers in 22 states about what their businesses mean to them.
- Ready to Roll highlights nine lessons from the Institute for Justice’s cottage food victory in Wisconsin.
- The Attack on Food Freedom examines the impact of regulations on farmers, chefs, artisans, restaurateurs, food truck operators and others.
Tell your Arizona story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Arizona? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Arizona legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Arizona by teaming with the Institute for Justice. Send an email with your name, background information and availability to get started…
Defending homemade food freedom nationwide
People have a right to earn an honest living without arbitrary and excessive government interference. Since 2013, the Institute for Justice has defended home bakers and chefs as part of its Food Freedom Initiative. Read about IJ’s nationwide food freedom advocacy…
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All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes, regulations, and processes are subject to change at any time, and specific facts and circumstances could alter how they are applied. If you have questions about the regulation of cottage foods in your jurisdiction, we recommend consulting a lawyer who can help you navigate the process.