MESA – Arizona residents who buy home baked pastries and goods are buying products with limited state regulations.
Home bakers in most Arizona counties can sell their goods to the public after receiving an online certificate from the Arizona Department of Health Services. But there are no random government inspections, such as with restaurants, of private homes.
“Because home baked and confectionery goods participants are not regulated in the same way that a restaurant or something is regulated, it’s really important that they are only making foods that are non-potentially hazardous,” said Jessica Rigler, branch chief for Public Health Preparedness at DHS.
Taryn MacQuilkin, owner of The Muffin Girl in Mesa, started her business in her kitchen after getting her certificate and a food handler’s card. She sold to farmer’s markets, which are visited by health inspectors.
“I found the program in Arizona for home baked goods and I did some more research and I was able to be a good participant for it,” said MacQuilkin, who now bakes and sells muffins at her Mesa store.
Home bakers must also follow other state regulations.
“It has to be properly labeled, it has to list the ingredients, specify that it’s been made in a private home, and there’s only certain categories of food that are allowed to be manufactured on the program as well,” Rigler said.
It is fine to sell goods such as cookies, cupcakes, cakes and muffins. However, the health department does not approve the sale of other homemade foods such as jams, jellies, honey and tamales because they can more easily harbor unsafe bacteria.
MacQuilkin recommends consumers research and ask questions before buying homemade food.
“Just pay attention to the labels and the packaging. Talk to the vendors, ask them when the product was made, how often they do it, how long they’ve been doing it,” she said.
(Video by Janie Hoyt/Cronkite News)