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AZ lawmaker to revive 'Tamale Bill' this session, expanding home-cooked foods sales

A failed bill to expand what kind of home-cooked foods can be sold to the public is being revived in the Legislature. 

Rep. Travis Grantham has filed a new proposal.

But it is unclear if the added language can persuade Gov. Katie Hobbs to sign the so-called “Tamale Bill,” as she vetoed last year’s version.

Grantham says he has made some changes but is unwilling to move in other areas, such as home inspections.

"Because they can't be set up the way those inspectors are going to want them set up. People's homes don't have industrial sinks and massive sewer pipes and fire suppression systems. And I could go on and on and on. And that will do nothing but put home kitchens out of business," Grantham said. 

Hobbs says she has not seen any of the bill’s changes. 

Arizona law already allows the sale of what are known as "cottage" foods. What Grantham's 2023 bill sought to do was expand the list to include certain cooked foods — like tamales.

The measure initially proved wildly popular among lawmakers, clearing the state House on a 45-11 margin, with the Senate giving its OK with just four dissenting votes.

It added some requirements, like anyone doing home cooking to complete food handler classes and maintain active certification. It also would have required the seller to register with the Arizona Department of Health Services.

And it also included full disclosure on the label, from the name and registration number of the food prepared to a statement saying, "This product was produced in a home kitchen that may process common food allergens and is not subject to public health inspection."

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.