Californians Can Now Sell Home-Cooked Food

Californians Can Now Sell Home-Cooked Food

There’s nothing quite like food made with love in one’s own kitchen. For a long time, however, California residents were not allowed to sell any food that was prepared in their own homes. Thanks to legislation enacted over the last decade, individuals with a seller’s permit in California can now earn legitimate money from their home cooking.

CA Authorities Have Legalized Two Kinds of Homemade Food Sales

For a long time, culinary entrepreneurs were required to prepare all food in a retail kitchen. For many, kitchen rental costs and zoning restrictions posed major obstacles. Now, new laws have brought them closer to their goals.

Some restrictions do still exist; for example, home food businesses are limited by the state of California to an annual income of $50,000 and may be run only by individual operators with no more than one employee.

Cottage Food Operations

On January 1st, 2013, the California Homemade Food Act—or “Cottage Food Law”—went into effect. Since then, residents in counties that have signed on have been allowed to sell packaged, shelf-stable, homemade foods. These foods must be low-risk for bacterial growth and able to remain fresh without refrigeration. Examples of appropriate foods under this law include things like jams, pickles, and dry pasta.

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations

Now, as of January 1st, 2019, a Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations bill allows California residents in participating counties to sell any prepared, cooked meals, and foods so long as they meet specific regulations. Raw meats are, of course, not allowed. Foods that are only cured or smoked are not considered cooked and are therefore not legal to sell.

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations

Residents Can Now Take Advantage of New Business Opportunities

In the Bay Area, partners and entrepreneurs Hai Ngoc Lam and Joe Acanfora have been somewhat secretively offering home-cooked Vietnamese foods for years. With the introduction of the new microenterprise law, the two are able to pursue their business goals openly and make their food business a legitimate source of income.

Elsewhere, other CA home chefs like Mariza Ruelas and Reneé McGhee had been selling foods like lasagna and ceviche to their communities, totally unaware that it was illegal. Under the new laws, they are now allowed to continue earning money doing what they love without fear of breaking any laws.

What You Need to Run Your Own Home Kitchen Business

Before you rush out to buy ingredients for your new food business, you’ll need to get the following proverbial ducks in a row:

  • Make sure your county has opted into the applicable laws and familiarize yourself with any restrictions.
  • Register your business with the state.
  • Get your California seller’s permit.
  • Get appropriate insurance.

Take Care of All Your Legal Needs at FastFilings

If you’re a California resident with a dream of starting your own business selling home-cooked meals and sweet treats, we can help you make it a reality! Take advantage of our convenient online business filing services and apply for your CA seller’s permit today, right from the comfort of your home.


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