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Arizona exempts potlucks, school veggies from food safety rules

Eating dangerously will be possible in Arizona by late July.

Non-commercial potluck social events, exempt from food safety rules for food and beverages, will be legal outside the workplace.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the covered-dish dinner exemption earlier this month after the Arizona Legislature approved House Bill 2341, which removed the ban on potlucks outside workplaces.

potluck_406x250State Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said freedom to potluck without government intrusion is a “basic right.” The ban on non-workplace potlucks will officially end 90 days after the Arizona Legislature adjourns Sine Die.

Arizona lawmakers expect to call it quits for the year by April 23rd, which would mean non-workplace potlucks this Fourth of July will still be at risk of government intrusion.

State law in Arizona currently includes food safety exemptions for items from cooking schools held in owner-occupied homes; non-hazardous foods prepared in private homes for occasional sale or distribution for non-commercial purposes; food prepared or served at employee events or child care facilities; commercially pre-packaged, non-hazardous food and drink; and non-hazardous baked goods made in home kitchens.

And, Arizona might get a little more risky if Senate Bill 1004, which has been approved by the Senate, gets a final vote in the House. The bill would exempt whole fruits and vegetables grown in home, school or community gardens.

The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 20-to-9 with one absent on Feb. 22. It is on the House third-reading calendar, meaning it can be brought up for a final floor vote at anytime.

The purpose of the bill is to exempt from food safety rules all whole fruit and vegetables that are washed and cut on-site for immediate consumption at any public or private school or post-secondary educational facility.

Such an exemption currently exists for child care facilities. The bill requires the producer in charge of any school or community garden to sign a statement that standard operating procedures are being followed.

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