Cottage Food Operations



The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has recently implemented operational changes to our Cottage Food Program.  These changes were made to help maintain low registration/permit fees and to further streamline the application review process for potential operators.  New applicants are required to submit at least one product label for each food category sold and the initial fee includes the review of up to ten (10) product labels.  Once a registration or permit is issued, operators can add products throughout the year without prior product label review by DEH.  For those vendors who wish to ensure that all of their product labels meet the Cottage Food Labeling Requirements, DEH will review product labels beyond the initial ten (10) labels or as new product labels are added throughout the year to verify product labels meet the labeling requirements.  The fee for this optional label review of any labels beyond the initial ten (10) labels will be assessed at our current hourly rate, available in ½ hour increments. 

Cottage food operators must ensure that all of the products they are selling are on the Cottage Food Operations (Approved Food List) as maintained by the California Department of Public Health, and meet the labeling requirements for all products beyond those reviewed by DEH.  Additional fees will apply for investigation of valid complaints and re-inspections related to improperly labeled products or unapproved products offered for sale.

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 to submit all necessary application information to avoid delays in the approval process.

 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
Class B Pre-Inspection Checklist: PDF
Cottage Food Operation Inspection Report: PDF
Label Requirements Guidance Document: PDF
Label Requirements for Allergens: PDF
Additional Label Submittal Application: PDF
San Diego Cottage Food Potable Water Requirements:  PDF
San Diego County Cottage Food FAQs: PDF
Training Options:  State Food Processor Course or San Diego County Approved Courses
Zoning Requirements:  Permit/License Requirements from your City of Residence

California Department of Public Health:
  Cottage Food Operations (Approved Food List)
California Cottage Food FAQs:  English   
Cottage Food Law:
  California Health & Safety Code §114365-§114365.6

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