On September 21, 2012, Governor Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act into law. This law amends the California Health and Safety Code to create a new category of food facility operation, which unlike other food facilities, can be operated out of a home kitchen, and will be implemented on January 1, 2013.
This new category, known as a Cottage Food Operation (CFO), will allow home kitchens to make and sell non-potentially hazardous foods. Non-potentially hazardous foods are foods that are unlikely to grow harmful bacteria or other toxic microorganisms at room temperature.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has established a list of current approved foods that meet the definition as non-potentially hazardous. Additional foods may be added and removed through a 30-day process. The list of current approved foods includes the following:
CFOs are required to obtain an annual registration or annual permit to operate through Sonoma County Environmental Health and Safety.
CFOs may sell directly and indirectly to the public, depending on their class of operation.
Additionally, a cottage food operator must complete a Food Processor Course administered by the CDPH within three months of obtaining a registration or permit.
Sonoma County is currently allowing only CFOs who are registered and/or permitted by Sonoma County Environmental Health and Safety to sell their cottage foods in Sonoma County.
CFOs may generate revenue of up to $35,000 in 2013, $45,000 in 2014, and increase up to $50,000 per year in 2015.
While CFOs may operate out of a private dwelling, they may be required to meet zoning and planning criteria, which can include issues concerning parking, noise, traffic control, density as well as other standards. Contact your local city planning department or Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management at (707) 565-1900 for more information.
For additional information, please read Cottage Food Operations: Frequently Asked Questions (pdf).
Environmental Health and Safety Programs
625 5th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404