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Revised tamale bill unanimously passes Arizona House

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(The Center Square) – Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs will once again have a cottage food bill on her desk this year, and she seems bound to sign it this time around.

House Bill 2042, sponsored by Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, passed the House of Representatives unanimously on Thursday, and it was then transmitted to the Senate for a vote.

“It shouldn’t be a crime. Cooking dinner should not be a crime,” Grantham said in a House Committee on Regulatory Affairs hearing in January, were he said the bill would also “define a home kitchen” and gives Arizona Department of Health Services some limited power in case there is an illness tied to a cottage food product.

“This was a very personal issue for me, and I obviously still very much care about it, but I’m glad were able to come up with a compromise,” Rep. Alma Hernandez, D-Tucson, said in the committee meeting at the time. Hernandez said her mother sold cakes to support their family, and that’s why the bill is so important to her.

A similar rendition of the bill, House Bill 2509, was passed by the legislature last year, but it was vetoed by Hobbs. This triggered an attempt at a veto override and a day at the Capitol where tamale and other cottage food vendors showed up in support, The Center Square reported in April.

“This bill would significantly increase the risk of food-borne illness by expanding the ability of cottage food vendors to sell high-risk foods. It fails to establish sufficient minimum standards for inspection or certification of home-based food businesses, and could limit the ability of ADHS to investigate food-borne disease outbreaks,” Hobbs’ veto letter stated.

“Nor does it provide a strong enough mechanism to ensure home kitchens are free of hazardous chemicals, rodent or insect infestation, or that equipment and storage of temperature-sensitive foods are adequate, functioning, or even existent,” she added.

However, this bill would require vendors to be certified food handlers, and the governor appears to be in support of the legislation, KJZZ reported.

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