Starting A Home Kitchen Based Food Business

Home Food Business Is Regulated and Requires Permit

To protect consumers from unsafe food, health departments in all states have specific regulations in place that chefs must comply with before they can serve home cooked food to consumers.

On this page you will fund, our effort to put together a comprehensive, as complete as possible, information about such regulations. We suggest that you go through the legal requirements that apply in your neck of the wood.

CA County Regulations for Food Business from Home Kitchens
California code allows for three types of home based food operations; Cottage Food Operation (CFO) Class A, CFO Class B and MicroEnterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO). For details about these options, please take a look at AB 626 in the Table of Contents.
Although the state bill enables MEHKO in all counties of the state, it leaves permitting of MEHKOs to individual counties and cities with the permit by a county being valid in any city within that county. Net effect of this is that in theory a city could allow MEHKO before the county has caught up to approve it. Given that structure, in practice, MEHKO is legislated at the county level.

MEHKO in Various California Counties

Counties with MEHKO process

For home chefs interested in operating a MEHKO, the table below contains links for details for MEHKO process for each of these counties.

Counties working on MEHKO

The following counties are in process of MEHKO decision. The table has links to their MEHKO website. You can influence the decision by getting involved.

Counties with No MEHKO Process

The following counties have not yet adopted MEHKO process. The table links to their sites with contact info. You can influence the decision by getting involved.