What is AB 626?
AB 626 creates a low cost and accessible way for independent cooks to start a small cooking business from home, selling any type of food (with a few exceptions):
Legalizing small-scale home food operations: Microenterprise home kitchens will be allowed to sell up to $50,000 per year— these new operations are intended for incubators or ancillary income, not a substitute for commercial-scale operations.
Ensuring health and safety standards: A home food operation must be inspected by and registered with the local enforcement agency and follow a set of health, training, and sanitation standards just like any other food facility.
Cooks must serve food directly to end customers, not through a retailer, wholesaler, or delivery company/app. Any 3rd parties providing online marketing or sales tools for cooks must abide by fee transparency and complaint reporting requirements.
AB 626 is the first of its kind in the United States and creates economic opportunities for cooks across California.
For more information:
Click above link to download or scroll down to read the full text.
History of the Bill
May 6, 2019
Riverside County becomes the first to pass a full opt-in ordinance. The C.O.O.K. Alliance is actively organizing for adoption across the rest of the state.
January 1, 2019
Bill went into effect in California and C.O.O.K. Alliance begins working with counties on opt-in resolutions. We also co-sponsor technical cleanup bill AB 377 with regulatory groups CCDEH, HOAC, CHEAC, and CSAC to smooth implementation process.
September 18, 2018
Governor Brown signed AB 626 into law!
Supporters have added over 65,000 signatures to a petition calling for home cooked food legalization and sent over 2,000 calls and support letters. Nearly 100 organizations from across the state have co-sponsored the bill. Thank you everyone for your support!
AB 626 passes unanimously out of the the Senate with a vote of 36 ayes, 0 nos, 4 abstains and is passed unanimously out of the Assembly (concurrence vote to ratify Senate changes) with a vote of 77 ayes, 0 nos, 3 abstains.
AB 626 passes out of Senate Health Committee with 7 ayes, 0 nos, and 2 abstains. Home cooks and local food advocates hold multiple rallies across the state in support of the bill.
AB 626 passed out of Appropriations Committee and then passed out of the Assembly on January 29th with overwhelming bipartisan support: 66 ayes, 1 nos, 10 abstains.
AB 626 passed the California Health Committee with bi-partisan support earning 12 "yes" votes and 0 "no" votes. Unfortunately, the bill was subsequently held in Appropriations Committee, becoming a 2-year bill.
AB 626 is introduced in the California State Assembly on February 14, 2017 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. Garcia represents an immigrant-heavy district and understands that homemade food sales are an important lever of economic empowerment, particularly in vulnerable communities.
AB 2593 is pulled due to opposition from the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH). However, because of the existing informal food economy, CCDEH agrees to collaborate towards 2017 legislation.
Coalition members work with Assemblymember Cheryl Brown to introduce AB 2593 in 2016— which would have allowed small home dinner sales without a permit.
After exhausting local policy options, Josephine forms a coalition with other food and labor justice groups to work toward California state legislation.
Home cooking startup Josephine is founded by home cooks and labor justice advocates in Oakland, CA. This group primarily work to help existing informal food sellers formalize their businesses— as part of this the team begins exploring avenues for policy change.
AB 626 Quick Facts
The Homemade Food Operations Act
BENEFITS OF PROPOSED SOLUTION
· Specifically for underrepresented groups such as women, immigrants, and people of color.
Public Health & Food Access
· Regulates unsafe private kitchen practices that cause foodborne illnesses in informal economy.
· Increases access to healthy and affordable food options, particularly in food deserts.
Protecting Vulnerable Communities
· Under existing law, preparing and selling food from a home kitchen is treated as a criminal act, and may be punishable as a misdemeanor.
AB 626 would amend Section 113789 of the Health and Safety Code to define “Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations” alongside other existing “Food Facilities.” AB 626 also adds Section 113825 and 114367 to outline the requirements for Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations, the inspection and permitting process, and requirements for Internet food service intermediaries. AB 626 amends several sections of code to align current law with these new requirements and definitions.
A “microenterprise home kitchen operation” meets the following requirements:
· Food is prepared, cooked, and served or delivered on the same day in a safe time period.
· Food preparation does not involve processes that require a line 5 HACCP plan (Section 114419), or sale of raw milk products or oysters.
· Food preparation is limited to 30 meals per day or 60 individual meals per week (or equivalent meal components).
· The operation has no more than $50,000 in verifiable gross annual sales (adjusted annually for inflation).
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations are not catering operations or cottage food operations, and are not allowed to conduct indirect sales.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Katie Valenzuela Garcia, Principal Consultant
State Capitol, Room 4140
Restrictions on the preparation and sale of meals in private homes limit the ability of cooks to legally earn an income from their home kitchens. The goal of this legislation is to reclaim cooking as a means of economic empowerment for the people who need it the most.
Current options for selling food are severely prohibitive and make it difficult for the vast majority of cooks to independently benefit from their labor, skills and limited resources. Under existing law, there are two ways for individuals to sell food:
1. Through commercial food facilities - such as a co-working kitchens or permitted restaurants, which require a business license, insurance and expensive space rental. These requirements make home cooking inaccessible to many, particularly because the food industry is already one of the lowest margin industries.
2. Through the Cottage Food Act (AB 1616—Gatto, 2012), which only allows for sales of a very restrictive list of food items (mostly non-perishable). This limited list makes it difficult for a person to earn substantive income from their cooking unless they operate a very specialized business (e.g. granolas and jams).
As a result, these talented cooks lack access to supplemental income and/or low-risk opportunities to incubate a food business. Many other local food producers operate under the table, risking criminal penalties and without the benefit of safety guidelines or access to education or shared resources.
· C.O.O.K. Alliance (Sponsor)
· All My Friends Day Care
· Azul MSI
· Border Grill Restaurants & Catering
· Calexico Neighborhood House
· California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
· California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO)
· California Capital Financial Development Corporation
· California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
· Chef Pires Pies
· Chela Empanadas
· Circle of Bees Inc.
· City and County of San Francisco (If Amended)
· City of Coachella
· City of Indio
· Coachella Valley Eocnomic Partnership
· Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center
· Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
· Coke Farm
· Community Food and Justice Coalition
· Community Food Council for Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands
· CORE Foods
· Councilmember Paula Devine, City of Glendale
· Crowdfund Better
· Cup & Saucer Princess Parties
· Eating Saigon!
· Farm Lot 59
· Farming Hope
· Flavors of Oakland
· Food Law and Policy Clinic, Harvard Law School
· Food Shift
· Forage Kitchen
· Free Spirit Farm
· Generative Somatics
· Get in Motion Entrepreneurs
· Giving Gardens
· Gobee Group
· Gold Finch Edible Designs
· Growing Leaders
· Heavy Fork Farm
· Indie Food Hub
· ITSON INC
· Jefferson Economic Development Institute
· La Cocina
· Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, City of Glendale
· Meat, Cheese, Wine, Beer
· My Petite Box
· Nathan’s Salsa Club
· National City Chamber of Commerce
· Newhall Investments
· Oakland Chamber of Commerce
· Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
· Obsidian Farm
· Opening Doors
· People’s Community Market
· PowerSource Cafe
· Pit Stop Barbeque
· Ramsey Catering
· Refugee Revive
· Riverside County Economic Development Agency
· Riverside County Workforce Development Board
· Riverside Food Systems Alliance
· San Francisco Department of Public Health (If Amended)
· San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (If Amended)
· Senator Jeff Stone, District 28
· Share Kitchen
· Slow Food California
· Small Business Majority
· Tech Equity Collaborative
· Town Kitchen
· The Big Girls Food Blog
· The Dojo Cafe
· The International Rescue Committee in San Diego
· The Story of Ramen
· The University Neighborhood Association
· Traveling Spoon
· UC Davis Student Housing and Dining
· V’s Sweet Treats
· Vertitable Good Consulting
· VLA Management
· Women’s Foundation of California
· More than 60,000 Individuals