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The Cottage Food Bill, AB1616, allows certain low-risk food products to be prepared and packaged in private home kitchens in California. The Cottage Food Bill, also known as the California Homemade Food Act, was passed in an effort to help Californians recover from the slow economy, promote small scale businesses and create jobs. This type of operation is called a Cottage Food Operation (CFO).

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    Only low-risk food products that are non potentially hazardous are allowed for a CFO.

    These types of products do not require refrigeration and are considered safe from rapid bacterial growth that can cause sickness. The California Department of Public Health maintains a complete list of approved Cottage Food Operation foods and labeling requirements.

    Approved CFOs

    CFO Types

    Class A

    CFOs may engage in a direct sale of cottage food products. A direct sale is a transaction between the CFO operator and the consumer via the phone, internet, or any other digital method and may be fulfilled in person, via mail delivery, or using any other third-party delivery service. Direct sales may take place at bake sales, certified farmers’ markets, and even temporary events. This class type will not require initial or routine inspections from our Department but must complete the following prior to operating:

    Prior to coming in with your paperwork please call your local area office to make an appointment to meet with an Environmental Health Specialist about your business.

    Class B

    CFOs may engage in direct and indirect sales of cottage food products. An indirect sale is where a consumer purchases a cottage food product made by a cottage food operator at a third-party retailer and may be fulfilled in person, via mail delivery, or using any other third-party delivery service. A retail food facility that holds a valid health permit including markets, restaurants, bakeries, and delis are third-party retailers. Prior to operating CFOs in this class must:

    Cottage Food Operations on a well

    Cottage Food Operations that use water from a private well need to have the water tested by a State Certified Laboratory on a regular basis.  Click here for more information.