Health aspects overlooked by Governor Hobbs’ veto of tamale bill

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Governor Hobbs recently vetoed a bill that regulates the sale of home-cooked items, such as tamales, burritos, tortillas and more, traditionally sold by families and street vendors. Hobbs’ veto was based on health concerns. Will Humble, Executive Director for the Arizona Public Health Association, spoke with Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons about the health aspects of this bill.

“What the bill would have done is expand the kinds of foods that vendors could make at home and sell at farmers markets, things like that,” Humble said.

The bill would have expanded the types of foods and also expanded the criteria to include more time and temperature control, transportation, a food handler’s card, taking classes, etc.

“What’s happening now is pretty much every weekend in parking lots all across Arizona, you can see people selling these tamales and things like that already. But they are in the shadows, and they’re not brought into the regulatory net, so they’re off the grid. This would have brought them into the grid so that it’s better regulated,” Humble said.

Another aspect of public health, according to Humble, is the ability for a family to make more money and therefore live a healthier lifestyle.

“It helps people earn extra money on the side which improves their ability to make a good living for their family, buy better food for themselves at home, get the kids extra stuff for school. Those are called the social determinants of health, and that is what dominates public health. Public health is more than just germs,” Humble said.

In Humble’s opinion, a foundational aspect of public health is allowing people to step out of the shadows every once in awhile to sell a tamale or two in order to receive a more stable income.

“If you want to know what’s the primary driver of a family’s health status, it’s income. And this would have been a way to help a lot of families, so I’m really for this,” Humble said.

Will Humble, Executive Director for the Arizona Public Health Association

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