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  • Arizona has strong standards for cottage food industry

    Cottage food laws, not to be confused with the dairy product in the grocery store, allow people to prepare certain types of foods from their home kitchen and legally sell them at certain venues. While each state abides by a different variation of this law, some might say Arizona has one of the better versions.  

    The home baker is exempt from county regulations. According to the State Statutes, all the baker must do is register with the Arizona Department of Health Services.

    “There is no cost, no inspections, and no limits on how much money people can make or where they can sell, including farmers markets, special events, local stores or restaurants. The only limitations are the types of food products they can sell, which should be non-potentially hazardous baked goods and confectionary products, and that the product is properly wrapped and labeled with the ingredients and the bakers contact information,” said David Ludwig, manager of Pima County’s Consumer Health and Food Safety Program.

    FoodEarlier this month, Ludwig spoke about Arizona’s cottage food industry in a webinar held by the National Association of County and City Health Officials. 

    In his presentation, Ludwig focused on the local perspective of this law and the economic benefits it brings to the community. He estimates there are about 5,000 people registered to sell home-baked products statewide. 

    Ludwig has had a role in establishing and promoting these guidelines long before overseeing the county’s food safety program. Before joining Pima County, he helped craft Arizona’s cottage food bill, which has been operational for the past six years. This bill applies to low-risk, baked and confectionary foods, including bread products, candy, pastries and snacks, such as kettle corn and granola. 

    “Finding a balance between minimal risk at home occupation was key in protecting the public’s health and providing them with the knowledge of where their purchased food products come from,” Ludwig said.

    Individuals interested in selling baked goods for profit in Arizona can do so with few requirements. They just need to register with ADHS and meet their requirements. Once that’s done, the person registered can prepare all goods in a residential home or group home kitchen. While some counties may also require a food handler card, Pima County does not. 

    For more information about food cottage laws, visit ADHS’s website on home baked and confectionary goods. 
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