Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO)
On March 14th, 2023, the MEHKO’s ordinance and fees were unanimously approved by the County’s Board of Supervisors. Though the ordinance and permit fee of $635.00* are not enacted until April 13, 2023, DEH will begin accepting applications as of March 14th.
Application and Documents:
Checklist to Apply for Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation Application
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation Standard Operating Procedures
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation Self-Certification Checklist
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation FAQs
Completed application packets may be submitted by mail, in person at the DEH office, or emailed to [email protected]. Once received, an application fee of $340.00* must be paid prior to the start of the review process. The application review may take up to 30 days. During the review period, you will be contacted by the Department via email or phone to discuss your application and seek any needed clarification. The review process may be delayed if all required documents and information are not received. A completed application packet consists of the four documents listed above. 1- The Checklist to Apply for a MEHKO; 2 – The MEHKO Operation Application; 3 – MEHKO SOP; 4 – MEHKO Self Certification Checklist. Once approved, the MEHKO Annual Permit fee must be paid in order to receive your operating permit. A scheduled inspection will be conducted within 30 days of permit issuance. At this time, applicants will receive an operating permit no sooner than April 14, 2023.
*Due to the recent fee relief, the application and permit fees will be waived for 2023. No fees will be collected at this time.
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) - Enabling Legislation
On January 1, 2019, California Assembly Bill 626 (AB 626) went into effect and MEHKO was established as a new type of retail food facility that allows an individual to operate a restaurant in their private residence.
In October 2019, California Assembly Bill 377 (AB 377) was chaptered to make minor changes to AB 626 and provide regulatory clarity. Under AB 377, the law gives each county full discretion within their jurisdiction to authorize the MEHKOs program.
In September 2022, California Senate Bill 972 (SB 972) established “Compact Mobile Food Operations” to promote economic inclusion while modernizing the California Retail Food Code. The legislation changes improve accessibility for sidewalk food vendors looking to obtain a permit. Additionally, SB972 allows for the expansion of a MEHKO to work in conjunction with up to two CMFOs. For more information on Compact Mobile Food Operations please visit SB-972 California Retail Food Code.
About DEH’s MEHKO Exploratory Process
On May 3, 2022, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the exploratory process for adopting an ordinance that permits MEHKOs throughout the County. The proposed 3-year temporary program will authorize community members to prepare, cook, and sell food from their private home kitchen.
On August 30, 2022, DEH made a request to the Board of Supervisors and was approved for additional funding to support the MEHKO program implementation.
In October 2022, DEH began outreach to the stakeholders and community members, and partnering agencies from the 15 cities and County Planning Department.
In December 2022, additional meetings with community and partnering agencies took place.
On January 11, 2023, an informational presentation to the Santa Clara County Cities Managers’ Association took place.
In February 2023, multiple meetings took place between DEH and community partners for feedback on developing documents.
On Tuesday, February 28, 2023, the MEHKO’s ordinance was introduced for its first “reading” to the County’s Board of Supervisors. The Department of Environmental Health will make a presentation at the “second” reading of the ordinance which will occur on March 14, 2023.
For more information: MEHKO Informational Slideshow
Translations for MEHKO Informational Slideshow are listed below:
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There will be opportunities to provide feedback regarding the MEHKO program process during outreach events. Please be sure to check this website frequently for information updates.
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