California Assembly Bill 377 (AB 377) was chaptered in October 2019 to make minor changes to the original California Assembly Bill 626 (AB 626) to provide more regulatory clarity.
With the passage of AB 626 “microenterprise home kitchen operation” (MEHKO) was established as a new category of a retail food facility. MEHKOs are restaurants in a private residence operated by the resident and allowed to produce a very broad variety of complex food products.
MEHKOs have several restrictions. For example, MEHKOs may only sell foodfrom the permitted residence and not to other businesses; or the resident or their employee can deliver the food to the buyer.
MEHKOs are not allowed to:
Produce/sell raw milk or raw milk products.
Sell or serve raw oysters.
Conduct processes that require a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan.
Manufacture ice cream or other dairy products.
Serve alcohol or food which contains alcohol without an appropriate license from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
Under AB 377, the County will have the ability to opt in and authorize a local MEHKO program for the entire jurisdiction, including all fifteen cities within the County. The law gives the County “full discretion” to authorize the MEHKOs program in their jurisdiction. At this time, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) continues to evaluate the options regarding the implementation of the MEHKOs program within Santa Clara County. Until the County authorizes these types of operations, DEH is currently NOT accepting applications for the MEHKOs program at this time.
Full details of AB 626 and AB 377 can be found at the links below.
Please contact our office at 408-918-3400 if you have any questions.