Andrew Wimer
Andrew Wimer · April 18, 2023

PHOENIX—Today, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed bipartisan legislation, HB 2509, to expand the foods that home-based entrepreneurs are allowed to sell. The bill, which passed the Senate 26 to 4 and the House of Representatives 45 to 11, would permit homemade food producers to sell refrigerated foods and meals, including perishable ingredients like butter, eggs, and meats.

 “The Governor’s veto is terrible for Arizonans of every walk of life,” said Institute for Justice Arizona Managing Attorney Paul Avelar. “Our research shows that expanding the foods that home entrepreneurs can sell is proven safe and particularly benefits women entrepreneurs and those living in rural areas. No surprise it had overwhelming bipartisan support throughout the legislative process. On a personal level, this means that women I have bought tamales from for years remain forced into the underground economy and under threat of criminal penalties, just for making tamales like they always have.”

Arizonans have a long tradition of selling and buying homemade foods: from school and church bake sales to tamaleros, the tamale ladies that so many Arizonans seek out especially during the holidays.

In 2011 Arizona began to allow homemade food sales, but only of shelf-stable foods like breads and cookies. Nevertheless, the program was a success, and more than 11,000 “cottage food producers” participated in it. Then-Representative Hobbs was one of just 11 votes against the 2011 program in the House.

But selling any homemade food that requires refrigeration is prohibited in Arizona. Since 2011, many states have expanded their cottage food programs to allow the sale of more than just shelf-stable foods.

In 2022, the Institute for Justice published “Baking Bad: Legal Barriers for Starting a Business Selling Homemade Food.” This nationwide study of state laws governing cottage foods gave Arizona a D grade for its highly restrictive laws on the kinds of foods that can be legally made and sold. Arizona’s highly restive laws compare poorly to many other states, including Arizona neighbors California and Utah, that have expanded their cottage food laws to include perishable foods without seeing any widespread problems.

Unless the Legislature is willing to override the Governor’s veto, Arizona’s cottage food producers will remain subject to onerous and unnecessary regulations for another year.

More information on the bill and personal stories from Arizona producers is available HERE.