Arizona Cottage Food Laws (link to Arizona’s gov site HERE) allows individuals to make homemade products that are neither potentially hazardous nor Time or Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) Foods, and offer them for commercial sale.
And the state of Arizona has made it easy for you to start your cottage food business!
Table of Contents
ARIZONA COTTAGE FOOD LAWS – Foods That Are Allowed
The following list is comprised from the Official Arizona Department of Health website.
Items not listed on the general page are listed on the additional document they have created to show what items got approved to be made in a home kitchen.
But you can see the more specific list here.
- Breads (Sweet breads and Bread)
- Brownies and fudge
- Cakes – teacher turns kitchen into bakery
- Caramel corn
- Chocolate Fudge
- Chocolate-covered fruit
- Chocolate-covered items
- Doughnuts – cottage mini donut vendor
- Dry pasta
- Dry spice mixes
- Fruit jams and jellies – See Additional Requirements Here
- Funnel Cakes
- Kettle corn – real kettle corn vendors from home
- Spices & Seasoning Mixes
- Pies (Fruit pies with fruit and sugar fillings)
- Popcorn (plain and flavored) – see a real home vendor here
- Pumpkin breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, and rolls
- Roasted coffee beans
- Roasted nuts
- Waffle cones
Frostings are allowed but Arizona Health Department has created a list of and for substituting potentially hazardous frosting ingredients for safe ones.
YOUR COTTAGE FOOD ITEM IS NOT LISTED?
If your cottage food item is not listed – check the Arizona expanded list of food items here.
In case you are uncertain whether the food item you want to prepare under the program is approved, please either refrain from making the product or have the food tested at a food safety lab for pH and water activity.
Lab results will determine if the food in question is allowable under the Cottage Food Law.
The University of Arizona Food Product and Safety Lab offers food testing services to food producers.
They can test any type of food product for a variety of different analyses. Contact phone, (520)318-7021.
ARIZONA COTTAGE FOOD LAWS – PROHIBITED FOODS
The following is a list of the prohibited foods. These items are excluded in most every state:
- Meat, Poultry, Fish
- Shellfish and Crustaceans
- Milk and dairy products
- Baked potatoes
- Heat-treated plant food (cooked rice, beans, or vegetables)
- Certain synthetic ingredients
- • Mushrooms, raw sprouts, cut melons, cut tomatoes, cut leafy greens
- Tofu and soy protein foods
- Untreated garlic and oil mixtures
- Custards, puddings, cakes with custard fillings, meringues, cheese cakes, pumpkin, cream or custard pies and other desserts containing ingredients of animal origin, should be assumed to be potentially hazardous
NOTE: Although eggs, milk and dairy products are listed as prohibited foods, used as ingredients for the allowed foods – is acceptable.
Many prohibited foods that are baked or cooked into the allowed foods are rendered harmless and therefore allowed.
ACIDITY LEVELS AND TESTING
Most states determine if a food is non-potentially hazardous by the acidity level found in the food. The higher the acidity, the more stable at a range of temps, that food product is.
For example: milk is low acidity and requires temperature controls.
The acidity of foods is measured by pH.
• The range of pH is commonly considered to extend from zero to 14. A pH value of 7 is neutral because pure water has a pH value of exactly 7. Values less than 7 are considered acidic, while those greater than 7 are considered basic or alkaline.
• All fruits are acidic foods and are usually tart and sour. Ex: tomato, lemon, peach, apple, etc.
• The FDA rule for acidic foods states that a food must have a pH below 4.6 to be sold as a minimally processed food.
• Reason for this is bacteria does not grow at this level of acidity.
• Exclusion shall not be construed as allowing the sale of low acid foods (pH > 4.6) in
hermetically sealed containers (i.e. home-canned green beans, peas, etc.) when such
food is not prepared in a permitted establishment. *Exceptions for Montgomery and Calhoun Counties.
Some states require testing if the pH level is unknown. The PH level for many food products, is already known.
You can test for pH yourself using a pH spear tester. (make sure it is made for food and has a long spear tip).
Oklahoma State University shares an awesome guide for selecting the correct tester for foods and liquids which includes tips and tricks for operation and maintenance. Get The Guide Here.
HOW TO START YOUR COTTAGE FOOD BUSINESS IN ARIZONA – FAST LICENSING
Arizona state has made it easy to get started by creating a step by step plan. And included in this plan is a requirement to get food handler training.
This can be done easily and online via any of these accredited food handling courses: ANSI accredited food handling and food safety courses … Steps:
- One: Take and online food safety / handling course
- Two: Online Arizona Cottage Food Law Registration
- Three: Contact your county health department and see if registration is required
- Four: Contact your city / county for business license requirements
Steps Three and Four are only to cover yourself in case your county or city requires anything extra. This is usually not the case but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 😉
ARIZONA COTTAGE FOOD LAWS LABELING REQUIREMENTS
Most states require labeling on any product produced at a home kitchen. However, even if your state doesn’t require labeling, this is your chance to stand out and show you care.
Arizona cottage food act requires labeling on all products made under the cottage food law.
Below is an example of what the state of Arizona requires on their labels.
Using VistaPrint.com or similar – you can quickly create professional labels that not only serve to meet the state cottage food guidelines but also serve for marketing your awesome business and products.
You’ll find some fantastic examples of this from members inside VendorsUnited.com
ALLERGENS ON LABELING
The FDA lists eight (8) major food allergens. Listing any of these on your label is a smart business practice and will certainly help your customers choose a product.
- Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
- Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Simply add to your label: “NOTICE: SOYBEANS USED IN THIS RECIPE” Some go as far to announce that a certain allergen is used in the same kitchen.
Some states require you list any potential allergens and potential for any cross contamination even if the allergen is not used in the recipe.
WHERE CAN I SELL MY COTTAGE FOOD PRODUCTS
You’re lucky! Arizona’s cottage food rules allow your homemade foods to be sold commercially and for re-sale.
This means that tomorrow your food products could be sitting on a store shelf making you money.
Inside kitchenincome.com you can find out how many cottage food entrepreneurs are getting sales faster than they can make the food.
FOOD HANDLER TRAINING AND BEST PRACTICES
ARIZONA FOOD TRAINING CARD / CERTIFICATE
This is simply the proof you took the online class and passed the quiz on proper food safety. You can take these classes in person but it’s much easier and faster to do them online.
You can get your Arizona Food Training card or certificate right now from any of these approved and accredited online providers. List of Arizona Approved Online Food Handler Training providers.
Much of this may seem like common sense, but even if you already know, it’s a good idea to remind yourself with a list of things that can prevent you from missing something small.
And if for no other reason… CYA! CYA = Cover Your A#%
CLEAN WORK AREA / WORK SPACE / SANITIZATION
Providing safe to eat foods from your kitchen – starts in your kitchen.
Keep your area clean and sanitized to avoid cross contamination and to insure you provide your customers and clients with the safest and best foods they can get.
The following are some “common” sense things you can do to insure the best environment for preparing foods to sell:
- Keep all equipment and surface areas clean and sanitized
- Make sure window and door screens are bug proof with no gaps
- Keep ingredients separate to prevent cross contamination / e.g. raw eggs near flour
- No pets in work area and preferably none in the home
- Allow no-one with a cold, sniffles or sick in kitchen while preparing foods
- Wipe down walls and clean floors daily
- Use good lighting to avoid missing unclean areas
- Keep window and door screens in good repair to keep insects out
- Wash hands frequently while working and use food grade gloves for extra safety
- Keep areas of food storage and equipment storage clean and sanitized
Why keep these types of records?
Let’s say the inspector calls you and says they got a report that your banana bread, someone purchased, made them sick.
You’ll be able to show that you didn’t even make banana bread that week and that the person who reported you, bought that 4 weeks ago and you weren’t even the one that sold it to him.
This does not need to be complicated. I love my yellow legal pads and they make an inexpensive tool for keeping up with the following:
- The recipes you use including ingredients
- The process you use to prepare that specific recipe: (can be just like recipe instructions)
- Date made (can be coded for your own use only if your state doesn’t require the production date) e.g. Made 12.22.29 = 292212
- Date sold (you can have a batch code to help track a certain batch) Simply write down date you sold an item
- Location sold is another great piece of information to keep track of
- Sales receipts are something great to keep for a couple of reasons and over at KitchenIncome.com I dive into the best practices, best systems and best methods for tracking, managing, selling and shipping.
COTTAGE FOOD lIABILITY INSURANCE
We live in a society that likes to sue. I can sue you for wearing that color shirt. No kidding!
Of course I probably won’t win, but at the very least, it’s gonna cause you stress and some costs.
Liability insurance is a MUST.
It can be expensive – but several years ago, I found FLIP and by far, they gave me the most protection (coverage) and allow you to run your cottage food business without fear of being sued.
WHY? Because they provide the lawyers. And their lawyers… they are good!
Of course you should price shop around with your local agent or a national brand company, but rest assured, I’ve done all the legwork for you.
Alternatively, some folks opt to get bonded. You’ve heard the saying before: “licensed and bonded”. A bond is usually provided from an insurance bonding company or your own insurance company.
My first time, I got a bond at State Farm.
A bond is expensive comparatively but is less out of pocket in the beginning. Of course, it’s way, way less insurance / coverage too.
A $10,000 bond may cost $50 annually while a $2,000,000.00 liability policy may cost a few hundred a year.
No matter what you decide… knowing you’re insured against frivolous lawsuits is worth every penny.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – COTTAGE FOOD ACT
- Arizona State’s cottage food law frequently asked questions
- Cottage Food Act – Frequently Asked Questions with Answers
CONTACT ARIZONA COTTAGE FOOD LAWS FOR MORE HELP
Office of Environmental Health
150 N. 18th Avenue, Suite 140
Phoenix, AZ 85007
UPDATES TO ARIZONA COTTAGE FOOD LAWS
From time to time, links, info, rules and numbers change, are updated or made obsolete.
Although I spend time daily with hundreds of vendors (many of which are cottage food businesses) – I can miss an update.
If you find a broken link, outdated information or any other issue… please let me know and I’ll send you a special gift for helping me maintain the best site on the internet for the cottage food industry.
My goal has always been to have a central place that is absolutely free for those starting out or existing entrepreneurs who use their homes and kitchens to make real incomes.
Please send to [email protected] / or post inside the private VendorsUnited.com group.
Need more resources? Check it out HERE (Helpful Resources)
Take a peek at the best vendors on the planet, the community that rocks the food vending world: Vendors United…
This information is provided to help those interested in starting a cottage food business. It is not a document made by the state government. This information is not provided as law nor should be construed as law. Always use the contact information for each state to confirm compliance and any changes.
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