January 26, 2022, the County Board of Supervisors took
action to adopt a local ordinance to temporarily authorize MEHKOs
throughout the San Diego region for two years.
On February 25, 2022, DEHQ will start to accept MEHKO
applications and work with home cooks to review their
standard operating procedures, menus, and compliance with
the California Retail Food Code.
preparation for the start of this new program, to provide
assistance in completing the necessary applications, and to
help operators understand the allowances of a MEHKO operation,
a training workshop was held on February 15, 2022. For more
information, please view our training workshop videos in English (Arabic, Mandarin, Filipino,
Spanish and Vietnamese pending).
Sign Up for Future MEHKO Updates - add
your email to our govdelivery subscriber list.
regarding the meetings, contact DEHQ directly at FHDMEHKO@sdcounty.ca.gov.
Forms and Applications |
Health Permit Application
Standard Operating Procedures
Documents and Resources |
MEHKO Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQs): English | Spanish
MEHKO Quick Facts: English | Spanish
MEHKO Startup Checklist: English | Spanish
MEHKO Self Inspection Checklist: English | Spanish
Home Kitchen Operation Resources:
Good Neighbor Tips: English | Arabic | Filipino | Mandarin-Chinese | Spanish | Vietnamese
Zoning Requirements: Permit/License
Requirements from your City of Residence
Waste Newsletter - Department of Public Works: Residential
Food Waste Reduction
Food Donations: Too Good to Waste PDF
Alcoholic Beverage Control FAQs
Department of Public Health FAQs – MEHKO and CFO
California Retail Food Code Sections -
San Diego County Library - Resources for Selling Food From Your
Food Operations (CFO) |
Prior to 2012, under the California Retail Food
Code (CRFC), food sold to consumers was required to be
made at an inspected commercial kitchen. When the
California Homemade Food Act, known as “Cottage Food
Operations” was enacted in 2013, certain low-risk food
products that do not require refrigeration, such as
bread, pie, fruit jam, and dried food, could be made
in private home kitchens, and sold to consumers under
New applicants are required
to submit at least one product label for each food
category sold. The initial fee includes the review of
up to 10 product labels. Once a registration or permit
is issued, operators can add products throughout the
year without prior product label review by the
Department of Environmental Health and Quality (DEHQ).
For those vendors who wish to ensure that all of their
product labels meet the Cottage
Food Labeling Requirements, DEHQ will review
product labels beyond the initial 10 labels or as new
product labels are added throughout the year. The fee
for the optional label review beyond the initial 10
labels will be assessed at our current hourly rate, in
½ hour increments.
Cottage food operators must
ensure that the products they are selling:
- Are listed on the Cottage Food Operations (Approved
Food List - Updated 12/06/2021) as maintained
by the California Department of Public Health.
- Meet the labeling requirements for all products
beyond those reviewed by DEHQ.
specified requirements pursuant to the California
Health & Safety Code related to preparing foods
that are on the approved food list.
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
are required to:
- Complete a food
processor training course within three months
of approval of the cottage food operation
- Implement sanitary conditions and
labels in accordance with federal and state
- Comply with established gross
annual sales limits.
information from the California Department of
Application Submission |
Please complete the appropriate
application packet and either submit in
our Kearny Mesa Location (5500
Overland Ave. San Diego, CA 92123), or by
NOTE: Please remember
to submit all necessary application
information to avoid delays in the approval process.
to Pay Online |
Pay Online at
click on the DEHQ tab. If you have
any questions regarding payment
instructions, please contact (858)
Please DO NOT submit payment with
your application. Once the
application is approved, DEHQ will
send you a payment invoice with
instructions for making