Andrew Wimer
Andrew Wimer · March 18, 2024

PHOENIX—The Arizona Senate is expected to vote on HB 2042 this week, a bill to expand the foods that home-based entrepreneurs are allowed to sell. The House unanimously passed this bill in February. The legislation, similar to last year’s HB 2509, would permit homemade food producers to sell refrigerated foods and meals, including perishable ingredients like butter, eggs, and meats.

Since 2011, Arizona’s “cottage food” program has allowed residents to produce a limited number of foods in their homes and offer them for commercial sale. The program has been a great success and thousands of Arizonans participate in it. But the kinds of food allowed in the program are very limited. HB2042 builds on the existing program by allowing people to make and sell more foods—including perishable ones—if they get a food handler card, register with the program, and follow some simple labeling and other requirements. Similar laws have been adopted in a number of other states already.

“Selling home cooked food is a safe way for Arizonans to provide for themselves and their families,” said IJ Arizona Managing Attorney Paul Avelar. “Tamales, salsas, dehydrated fruits, and many kinds of cakes, pies, and frostings are illegal now, but we all know people who make and sell such things and many of us already buy them. With the amendments to last-year’s bill, lawmakers are even more united this year in support of freeing food entrepreneurs.”

This Arizona bill is part of IJ’s nationwide Food Freedom Initiative. For more than a decade, through litigation, legislation, and strategic research, IJ has been at the forefront of the fight for the rights of food entrepreneurs and consumers against irrational and overly burdensome regulations.

Last fall, IJ released new data showing that homemade food sales are incredibly safe. IJ contacted the seven states with the broadest homemade food laws: California, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Not a single state has found a foodborne illness to be caused by food sold under their homemade food law.

The food entrepreneurs below who are supporting the bill are available for interviews. Please contact Andrew Wimer, Institute for Justice Media Relations Director, [email protected], to arrange.

“This legislation holds significant importance for both myself and fellow cottage producers within our area, where access to commercial kitchens is extremely limited. There is a demand from customers for food prepared with premium ingredients on a smaller, artisanal scale. Crafting homemade foods with meticulous attention is our livelihood, and this bill will expand the range and type of products we can provide.”

Sheri Shaw, Kingman

“A home food business is a perfect opportunity for my autistic son to work with me in a quiet environment that is comfortable for him. Our hopes were dashed last year but, should the expanded cottage foods bill become law, it could open that door again. We’re both excited for the future.”

Char Ugol, Scottsdale

“Apache County is one of Arizona’s most food-insecure and poverty-stricken Counties. So many of our residents here rely on home businesses to support their families and food products are an essential and important output. This bill will give many of my friends and neighbors more options to provide for themselves by selling delicious and nutritious meals and foods.”

Gina Irons, Eagar

“Letting people run their food businesses from home will open up opportunity for many Arizonans. It takes a lot of resources to build or rent a commercial kitchen. But this bill would make it possible for entrepreneurs like me to start small and work our way up.”

Brannon Haley, Surprise

“Consumers want more options when it comes to home-baked goods. Passage of the expanded cottage foods bill will let us provide cookies and wedding cakes that simply taste better. We also know that the foods included in the bill can be safely made at home. I’m excited at the possibilities that the bill will open up.”

Michelle Ware, Prescott Valley