Thanks to California Assembly Bill 626, home cooks can now sell their food to the public.

Thanks to California Assembly Bill 626, home cooks can now sell their food to the public. Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash.

Are you an enterprising home cook looking to make a little money off those chocolate chip cookies, tamales or elotes? With the recently passed Assembly Bill 626, you can now sell your food directly to the public, providing you’re not preparing raw oysters on the half shell or serving raw milk products.

Assembly Bill 626, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 18, allows cities and counties to authorize and permit homemade food sales as a new category of “retail food facility.” This law dramatically expands the California Cottage Foods Law, which previously allowed sales of relatively “safe” foods like pickles, pies or jams to be sold.

There are, however, several guidelines that must be followed before you begin selling your homemade goods. Here are a few:

  • Home cooks must obtain a professional restaurant food managers’ certification before selling their goods.
  • The operation can have no more than one full-time equivalent food employee (not including a family member or household member.)
  • Home cooks must agree to an inspection of their kitchen
  • Home cooks must sell directly to consumers. Mail order, wholesale, retail and delivery is prohibited.
  • Home cooks that gross more than $50,000 a year will have to move to a commercial kitchen.
  • Food must be prepared, cooked, and served on the same day and delivered within a safe time period based on holding equipment capacity.
  • Food preparation is limited to no more than 30 individual meals per day and no more than 60 individual meals per week.

Although many home cooks are excited about the prospect of profiting off their culinary creations, the California State Association of Counties and the County Health Executives Association of California have publicly voiced concern that the new law will put diners at risk for food poisoning.

Read details of the “California Retail Food Code: Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations” at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB626

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