Arizona allows its residents to start a home-based food business selling “non-potentially hazardous baked and confectionery products.” Whether you are interested in selling food online or selling food in your area, start by contacting this agency to start a food business in Arizona from your home:
Arizona Department of Health Services
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 542-1025
Fax: (602) 542-0883
Starting a Home-Based Food Business in Arizona
In 2011, Arizona introduced a program called The Arizona Home Baked and Confectionery Goods Program that allows certain food products to be prepared and commercially sold from home.
One of the most successful cottage food laws in the country, about 4,542 residents have registered in Arizona’s program in November 2015. The law A.R.S. 36-136 (H)(4)(g) states that:
Baked and confectionery goods that are not potentially hazardous and that are prepared in a kitchen of a private home for commercial purposes if packaged with a label that clearly states the address of the maker, includes contact information for the maker, lists all the ingredients in the product and discloses that the product was prepared in a home. The label must be given to the final consumer of the product. If the product was made in a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities, the label must also disclose that fact. The person preparing the food or supervising the food preparation must obtain a food handler’s card or certificate if one is issued by the local county and must register with an online registry established by the department pursuant to paragraph 13 of this subsection. For the purposes of this subdivision, “potentially hazardous” means baked and confectionery goods that meet the requirements of the food code published by the United States food and drug
Here are some things to remember when starting a food business from home in Arizona:
Register to the Program
The first step in starting a food business from home in Arizona is to register to the Home Based and Confectionery Goods Program. You also need to get a food handler card, if required in your county.
Registration is simple and easy. You can go online and fill out a one-page application, including name, contact information, a description of the baked goods that will be sold, and a checkbox for having a food handler card, if the applicant’s county requires it.
Arizona publishes the list of residents who have registered to the Home Baked and Confectionery Goods Program, including the products they are selling.
What Can You Sell
The Arizona cottage food law only allows home based businesses to sell a limited number of “baked” or “confectionery” food items, such as:
- Sweet breads
- Cakes with hard icings or frostings
- Fruit pies with fruit and sugar fillings
Prohibited foods are those that are considered potentially hazardous. Examples of food items that are not allowed include:
- Meat, poultry or fish
- Cakes or cupcakes with frostings or fillings that require refrigeration
- Shellfish and Crustaceans
- Perishable baked goods
- Milk and dairy products
- Baked potatoes
- Heat-treated plant food (cooked rice, beans, or vegetables)
- Certain synthetic ingredients
- Mushrooms, raw sprouts
- Tofu and soy protein foods
- Untreated garlic and oil mixtures
- Salsas and sauces
- Custards, puddings, cakes with custard fillings, meringues, cheesecakes, pumpkin, cream or custard pies and other desserts containing ingredients of animal origin, should be assumed to be potentially hazardous
For canned goods such as jams, jellies, fruit and pickles, you will be required to obtain a permit from the county environmental services office and produce the food in a commercial kitchen, instead of just your home.
There are no sales limitations when selling food items from home.
Some counties in Arizona require a food handler card, which are given after passing a Food Handlers Card Certification or food service worker sanitation course. However, there are several counties where you are NOT required to get food handler cards, such as: Pima, Cochise, Graham, Navajo and Santa Cruz. Be sure to check with your county health district to confirm the requirements for the food handler card.
In some counties, the food handler card certifications are issued by the health district office, especially for individuals with disabilities. However, some counties direct registrants to online training and test providers such as those accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) .
Some counties require the food handler cards to be renewed annually. Costs of getting the food handler certification can range anywhere from$10-$15.
Where Can You Sell
The Arizona cottage food laws are flexible in terms of where you can sell. Under the Home Based and Confectionery Goods Program, you can sell:
- Online (though orders need to be picked up personally or delivered in-person)
- Roadside or farm stands
- Events like fairs and festivals
- Farmers markets
- Retail Stores
The following information is required by law to be on a food label for a home baked good or Confectionery item when it is offered for sale:
- The address and contact information of the individual registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services;
- A list of the ingredients in the baked or Confectionery goods;
- A statement that the baked or Confectionery goods are prepared in a private home; or
- If applicable, a statement that the baked or Confectionery goods are prepared in a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.
You can see a sample of how the labeling should be at the Arizona Department of Health Services
To help you get started on your home based food program, the Arizona Department of Health Services has prepared the video below to help Arizona residents start their own home baked and confectionary goods business in the state. The video covers topics such as food safety and nutrition, labeling, production of goods, among others.
You can read the list of guidelines on how you should prepare the food in the Arizona Department of Health Services website.
For information on business registration, taxes, legal structure, and other information on starting a business, visit our How to Start a Business in Arizona
Recommended Books on Starting a Food Business:
- Good Food, Great Business: How to Take Your Artisan Food Idea from Concept to Marketplace
- Cooking Up a Business: Lessons from Food Lovers Who Turned Their Passion into a Career — and How You C an, Too
- Starting a Part-time Food Business: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Love for Food Into a Successful Business Without Necessarily Quitting Your Day Job
- Homemade for Sale: How to Set Up and Market a Food Business from Your Home Kitchen
- Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business: Turn your kitchen into a business. (Start and Run A)
- How to Start a Food Business in Texas
- How to Start a Food Business
- Starting a Food Business in Alabama from Home
- 50 Books on Starting a Food Business
- Starting a Daycare Business in Arizona