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LA County approves home kitchen businesses

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LA County approves home kitchen businesses

Home chefs in Los Angeles will soon be able to legally prepare and sell food from their kitchens starting in November, as the county approved “Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations” on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a licensing process that will allow home cooks and street vendors throughout the county to cook safe and regulated food for the public.

Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the ordinance aligns LA County with the state “by creating a path for unregulated chefs to gain entry and builds on our efforts to provide guardrails that protect residents and brick-and-mortar businesses while thousands of street vendors and home chefs benefit from this to our local economy.”

In 2018, the state passed a law allowing home chefs to sell their goods to the public, but Los Angeles County still did not allow this. Only now, or in November 2024, will home chefs be allowed to prepare, sell or give away food from a home kitchen.

Riverside County was the first in the state to launch a Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) program in 2019.

Under the new LA County ordinance, home-based businesses must pay a $597 application fee, along with an annual health permit fee of $347, to cover the costs of annual inspections and enforcement actions.

The ordinance also sets a gross annual sales limit of $100,000, with meals limited to 30 per day or 90 per week.

Under the ordinance, a MEHKO may also be approved to serve as a commissary for up to two food carts, or Compact Mobile Food Operations. In such cases, kitchens are limited to 80 meals per day and no more than 200 meals per week. Gross revenue for a MEHKO acting as a commissioner is $150,000.

Health officials said the ordinance was developed in consultation with other provinces that have already adopted a MEHKO program, along with the COOK Alliance, an advocacy group dedicated to legitimizing and supporting home cooking businesses.

Los Angeles County becomes the 15th jurisdiction in the state to authorize MEHKOs, with the licensing ordinance taking effect on November 1, 2024.

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