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Arizona Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Arizona

Arizona Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts (updated Spetember 2019)

Date of the enactment of the Arizona cottage food law:  July 2011.

It limits producers to just baked and confectionss, but there is no sales limit, and getting started is easy.

Which foods are subject to the Arizona Cottage Food law?

The law limits cottage foods to  baked and confectionary goods and fruit jam and jelly. The state has an approved foods page here.

Examples include:

  • Breads (Sweet breads and Bread)
  • Bagels
  • Biscuits 
  • Brittles
  • Brownies and fudge
  • Cakes (Cakes with hard icings or frostings)
  • Candies
  • Caramel corn
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Chocolate-covered fruit
  • Chocolate-covered items
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Doughnuts
  • Dry pasta
  • Dry spice mixes
  • Fruit jams and jellies (there are special requirements for jams and jellies, see this page)
  • Granola
  • Honey
  • Kettle corn
  • Mixes Spices & Seasonings
  • Muffins
  • Pastries
  • Pies (Fruit pies with fruit and sugar fillings)
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Pumpkin breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, and rolls
  • Roasted Coffee Beans
  • Roasted nuts
  • Rolls
  • Scones
  • Tarts
  • Toffee
  • Tortillas
  • Truffles
  • Waffle cones

Please note that although eggs, milk, and other dairy products are considered potentially hazardous, they are allowed to be used as ingredients within the dough or batter of baked goods (such as breads, cookies, and cakes).

Prohibited foods

Everything other than baked goods and confections . For example, jams and jellies, are prohibited. Why is some food considered potentially hazardous? Food is often considered potentially hazardous because it contains moisture, usually regarded as a water activity greater than 0.85, contains protein, or is neutral to slightly acidic, typically a pH of 4.36 and 7.5.

Some examples of prohibited foods (by no means is this all-inclusive)

  • Any foods that require refrigeration
  • Acidified foods
  • Beverages (coffee, soda, juice, etc.)
  • Butter and spreads and Nut Butters
  • Buttercream frostings
  • Cakes with custard fillings
  • Cheesecakes
  • Custards
  • Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables
  • Fillings, Frostings, and Icings (including ganache) that do not follow Arizona's Frosting Guidance
  • Fruit butters
  • Ketchup
  • Meat, fish, shellfish products
  • Meat jerky
  • Meringues, Cream or Custard Pie
  • Mustards
  • Nut butters
  • Oils and Vinegars
  • Pecan Pie
  • Perishable baked goods
  • Pet foods or pet treats
  • Pickled and Fermented Foods
  • Potato chips
  • Preserves
  • Pumpkin cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Pie,
  • Puddings
  • Reduced oxygen packaged products
  • Salsas
  • Sauces
  • Sweet Potato Pie,
  • Syrups
  • Tamales
  • Custards, puddings, cupcakes or cakes with custard or cream fillings, meringues, cheese cakes, cream or custard pies, and other desserts with high pH and water activity are not allowed.

If the item that you want to make is not on this list, check the list of all non-potentially hazardous foods that have been approved in the past. Search (Ctrl-F) this document for the item you want to make. If your item is on the list, it is non-potentially hazardous, and you may sell it. If your item is not on this list, please contact Arizona State to see if it is non-potentially hazardous.

If the item that you want to make is NOT on the approved listit is considered a "potentially hazardous good", and you would need to obtain a permit from your county environmental services office and produce the food products in a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen. Please contact your county’s environmental health department to obtain the necessary license.

If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage Food, you may still be able to make and sell it commercially, through a startup approach.  See this page for detailed information about selling foods that do not meet the Cottage Food definition.

Definitions:

  • Kitchen - in your home; all Cottage Food items prepared by a registrant of the program must be prepared at the registrant's home, you may not make themn in a kitchen outside of your home.

Licensing

  • Registration is required (it may be done online (easy and free),
  • Most producers will also need to get a food handler card.

To register for the program, please follow the steps in the Road Map found here. The Road Map is designed to allow you to figure out everything you need to make your registration as smooth and easy as possible, shortening the turnaround time.

Arizona residents are required by ARS 36-136(H)(4)(g) to register for the Home Baked and Confectionery Goods Program to be authorized to produce products for commercial purposes. Registrants can also choose to sign up for email updates from the program which will include food safety information, product recalls, and healthy baked good recipes from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

To become a registered home baker, you need to obtain a food handler card or training certificate, as required by your county. Some counties issue a county-specific food handler card, some only require you to take a food handler training course, and others have no food handler training requirements at all. If your county does not require food handler training, you are still strongly encouraged to take a food handler training course. Here is a list of online training certificate programs accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Other licenses:

See your county and municipality for:

  • Assessor’s Office (for questions about business-related property taxes)
  • Planning & Zoning Office (for questions about zoning restrictions on home-based businesses)
  • City Clerk (for questions on local business license requirements)
  • You may also want to contact your insurance company to determine the impact (if any) of a home-based business on homeowner’s liability. In general, you will at least need to add an "Umbrella policy"

Training and Food Handler Cards

Under ARS 36-136 (H)(4)(g), you are required to obtain a food handler's card or certificate, as required by your county. This food handler training requirement needs to be fulfilled before preparing any products under the Home Baked and Confectionery Goods Program.

If your county does not require food handler training, you are still strongly encouraged to take a food handler training course. See this page for a list of online training certificate programs accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Arizona cottage food labelLabeling requirements (changed on July 1, 2019)

Cottage Food Production Operations must label all of their food products properly, which includes specified information on the label of each unit of home baked good or Confectionery item when it is offered for sale:

  • The name and registration number of the food preparer (Registration numbers began July 1, 2019, Home address is no longer required on the label.)
  • A list of all the ingredients in the product
  • The product’s production date
  • 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.”
  • If applicable, a statement that the product was made in a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Arizona Label requirements can be found here. Depending on the size of your business, your label must comply with Federal label regulations and with the new nutritional labeling law. You can download a copy of the FDA Food Labeling Guide here it s an illustrated booklet that should answer all your questions.

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

Cottage Food Products may not be sold across state lines.  Aside from that, you may can sell at any venue within the state, grocery stores, registered farm markets, church bake sales, schools, registered farmers markets, and sold and/or used in preparing food in a restaurant.

To sell at a local store, you must:

  1. Take a food handler training course and then register online with the Cottage Food Program.
  2. After you receive your certificate of registration through your email, follow the guidelines for developing a package label (see labeling below), and start making your product. As long as your product is labeled appropriately, it can be sold in a retail food establishment within Arizona.
  3. The location that you want to sell at must
    1) allow you to sell your goods in their retail food establishment and
    2) ensure that the customer is notified that the product was made in a private home.

Other requirements

See this State of Arizona website for all the other details

Once you have your food handler training certificate/card and your certificate of registration, you may begin selling your goods. However, we do suggest that you contact the following people on the county and municipality level:

  1. Assessor's Office (for questions about business-related property taxes)
  2. Planning & Zoning Office (for questions about zoning restrictions on home-based businesses)
  3. City Clerk (for questions on local business license requirements)

You may also want to contact your insurance company to determine the impact (if any) of a home-based business on homeowner's liability.

Recommendations:

Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and reducing liability suggests you should do the following.

Testing of pH

​It's best to use a pH meter, properly calibrated on the day used. I use this one, which is reliable and inexpensive. And this pH meter is really good, but isn't always available.
Short-range paper pH test strips, commonly known as litmus paper, may be used instead, if the product normally has a pH of 4.0 or lower and the paper's range includes a pH of 4.6.

Record-keeping is suggested

Keep a written record of every batch of product made for sale, including:

  • ​Recipe, including procedures and ingredients
  • Amount canned and sold
  • Canning date
  • Sale dates and locations
  • Gross sales receipts
  • Results of any pH test

Sanitation

Although iInspections are not required, you should consider doing the following:

  • ​Use clean equipment that has been effectively sanitized prior to use
  • Clean work surfaces and then sanitize with bleach water before and after use
  • Keep ingredients separate from other unprocessed foods
  • Keep household pets out of the work area
  • Keep walls and floors clean
  • Have adequate lighting
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair to keep insects out
  • Wash hands frequently while working
  • Consider annual testing of water if using a private well

Best Practices

  • Allergans:  Most state home baking acts require an "ingredient statement" and/or an "allergen listing" on the label of the bakery item for sale; but if your state does not, you should anyway. The eight major food allergens are
    • milk,
    • eggs,
    • fish,
    • crustacean shellfish,
    • tree nuts,
    • peanuts,
    • wheat and
    • soybean.
  • Cross-allergenicity: There are also ingredients available, even flours, that can cause a cross-allergenicity. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology explains cross-allergenicity as an allergic reaction when proteins in one substance are similar to the proteins found in another substance. For example, consumption of lupine flour may trigger an allergic reaction to peanuts, and cricket flour may trigger an allergic reaction to shellfish. Again, providing such information might be a beneficial marketing tool and help keep potential consumers safe.
  • The 2 Hour/4 Hour Rule -  Anyone wishing to make and sell refrigerated bakery items should remember to follow the "2 Hour/4 Hour Rule." This is a system that can be implemented when potentially hazardous foods are out of temperature control (temperatures greater than 45 degrees Fahrenheit) during preparation, serving or display for sale. The rule guidelines are as follows:
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for 2 hours or less, then it may continue to be used or be placed back in the refrigerator.
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for more than 2 hours but less than 4 hours, it needs to be used quickly or discarded.
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for more than 4 hours, it must be discarded.

More resources:

Questions? Contact Information:

Office of Environmental Health
150 N. 18th Avenue, Suite 140
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 364-3118
(602) 364-3146 Fax

Email: [email protected]