Home Food Home Chefs Now Able To Market Their Meals

Home Chefs Now Able To Market Their Meals

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From County Public Health:

Contra Costa residents interested in selling home-cooked food to the public can now get a health permit to do so, an affordable option for entrepreneurs that ensures the safety of their customers.

Beginning July 1, Contra Costa Health (CCH) offers a new type of food permit for small-scale, home-based restaurants operated inside private homes by their residents. Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKOs) can offer meals for dine-in, delivery and takeout.

“By providing this option we ensure that people who sell food out of their homes do so in a safe manner that protects the health of our community,” said Federal Glover, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “We also open the door for neighborhood businesses, and for more access to healthy, nutritious food in areas where options may be limited.”

The board unanimously adopted an ordinance in May authorizing the county to offer the permit under terms of a 2018 state law. Several other Bay Area jurisdictions already do so, including Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties, and the City of Berkeley.

The permit allows meals to be stored, handled, and prepared to be served or delivered in a private residence. Most other food permits require a commercial kitchen in a restaurant or similar facility.

A permitted home can also serve as a space to prepare food for sale on street carts, a requirement to obtain a cart vendor health permit that has proven to be a significant barrier in Contra Costa.

As with holders of standard commercial food permits, MEHKO permit holders must meet requirements relating both to the spaces where their businesses operate and the food-safety training of operators. CCH will inspect each permit holder annually or more often.

The MEHKO permits do limit the holder to selling no more than 30 meals per day and 90 meals per week, and no more than $100,000 in gross annual sales. There are also some limitations regarding the type of food that may be served.

CCH will schedule workshops throughout the county later this year for potential applicants.

“This permit is great for new entrepreneurs who are just getting started,” CCH Environmental Health Director Kristian Lucas said. “It’s also a way for the public to know that a seller advertising on social media is complying with food safety regulations.”

MEHKO permit holders will be required to display their permits at their homes, and their health inspection records will be available to the public at cchealth.org.

For more information about the new permits, including how to apply, visit HERE.


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