What You Need to Know About California’s New Home Cooking Laws

Last month, California passed a new law allowing individuals to sell food prepared in their own home. While selling home-cooked food is a common practice in many parts of the world, it has always been illegal to do so in the U.S., until recently. Once the new law takes effect on January 1, 2019, many of the former underground home cookers across California will be able to come out with their businesses and have the opportunity to publicly market their food and make a lot more money as a small business. Here is what you need to know about California’s new home cooking laws.

You are Only Permitted to Make Up to $50,000

One of the restrictions under the new law is that home cooking businesses can only have the equivalent of one full-time employee and can not net more than $50,000 in sales per year. Additionally, no more than 30 meals can be sold per day, or 60 meals per week. While some may complain that there is a cap at all, the cap is well above the per capita median income of $33,389 in California. This additional income can provide a big boost for single income households or individuals who are looking to make some additional income on the side.

Not ALL Categories of Food are Allowed

Certain foods that are deemed dangerous, such as raw oysters and raw milk, are not permitted to be sold through home cooking. Furthermore, any food that is prepared using a process that requires additional HACCP disclosures is not permitted to be sold through home cooking. The purpose of this rule is to protect the health and safety of consumers.

Not ALL Counties in California Allow Home Cooking

The new law gives discretion to the governing bodies of cities and counties throughout California to make their own determination as to whether they want to adopt this law into their city or county. Thus, if a particular city or county chooses not to adopt California’s new home cooking law, then home cooking will remain illegal in that city or county.

Home Cooked Food can Only be Sold to Consumers

Since individuals are limited to selling 30 units per day or 60 units per week, it is unlikely that they will run into issues involving overselling. Just to be sure, however, the law restricts sales from home cooking businesses to consumers only, and not to other businesses. With the rise of technology as a tool for selling, such as WeChat for many Chinese home cooks, the new law actually includes a provision stating that selling through these phone applications is still considered selling to consumers for the sake of this law.

If you are considering starting your own home cooking business, or if you have already started an underground home cooking business that you are planning to open to the public on January 1, 2019, contact our attorneys today to learn more about this new law and how you can use it to your advantage. Contact us online or at 626-577-6800 (Los Angeles) or 415-590-4869 (San Francisco) today to schedule an appointment with one of our business law attorneys.