Cottage Food Operations


The Cottage Food Law went into effect on January 1, 2013, allowing the production of certain low risk foods in home kitchens and sales directly and indirectly to the public. Cottage Food Operators (CFO) can prepare and sell “non-potentially hazardous foods,” which are foods that are unlikely to grow harmful bacteria or other toxic microorganisms at room temperature. The list of foods is maintained by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and it is posted here: Cottage Food Operations (Approved Food List)

All cottage food operators will have to meet specified requirements pursuant to the California Health & Safety Code related to preparing foods that are on the approved food list. A food processor training course must be completed within three months of approval of the cottage food operation (CFO). The CFO must implement sanitary conditions, maintain food labels in accordance with federal and state regulations and comply with established gross annual sales limits.

Additional information from the California Department of Public Health may be found here.

 Types of Cottage Food Operations
Please complete the appropriate application packet and either submit in person at our Kearny Mesa Location (5500 Overland Ave. San Diego, CA 92123), or via email at Please remember that label samples for every product you wish to sell need to be submitted with your completed application packet.

 How to Pay Online
Pay Online at - click on the DEH tab. If you have any questions regarding payment instructions, please contact (858) 694-3614.

Please DO NOT submit payment with your application. Once the application is approved, DEH will send you a payment invoice with instructions for making payment.


 Documents and Resources

Fillable documents may not work in all browsers. To ensure proper functionality of the fillable PDF application packets, please download the PDF to your computer prior to filling it out. Ensure you have the most updated version of Adobe Acrobat. Once completed, email the documents to

Do You Qualify as a Cottage Food Operation?  Flow Chart Screening PDF
Application Submittal Requirements Checklist: PDF
Class A CFO Registration Packet: Full Packet  |  Application Only
Class B CFO Permit Packet: Full Packet  |  Application Only
Label Requirements Guidance Document: PDF
Label Requirements for Allergens: PDF
Additional Label Submittal Application: PDF
Cottage Food Operation Inspection Report: PDF
California Department of Public Health:
  Cottage Food Operations (Approved Food List)
Cottage Food Law:   California Health & Safety Code §114365-§114365.6
California Cottage Food FAQs:  English   Spanish
Ley de Alimentos Caseros - Preguntas Frecuentes:  en Español
Zoning Requirements:  Permit/License Requirements from your City of Residence
Training Options:  State Food Processor Course or San Diego County Approved Courses
San Diego Cottage Food Potable Water Requirements:   PDF


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact our Food and Housing Duty Specialist at
(858) 505-6900 or email