SACRAMENTO—Late yesterday, a bill to expand California’s Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) program was introduced by Assemblymembers Marie Waldron and Eduardo Garcia. AB 1325, which is sponsored by the Institute for Justice (IJ) and the Creating Opportunities Opening Kitchens (COOK) Alliance, will permit California’s licensed home cooks to make and sell more meals each week and will increase the amount of revenue the cooks are allowed to earn annually.
The MEHKO program allows Californians in certain counties to prepare meals at home and sell them in their communities. These licensed and inspected operations are permitted to sell 60 meals per week and earn a gross annual revenue of $50,000 (adjusted for inflation each year) doing so. If passed, AB 1325 would increase the meal cap to 90 per week and double the annual gross revenue cap to $100,000.
“Being able to sell more meals and potentially double my annual income would have a massive impact on my life,” said Alejandra Trinidad Cordero, a MEHKO producer in Chula Vista. “This bill will allow me to invest more into my home business and help me provide for family.”
Alejandra has been running her micro restaurant, La Cocina de Trini, from her San Diego County home since last year. She serves up Mexican family recipes inspired by her grandmother’s and mother’s cooking.
“While there remain many regulatory barriers in the way of California’s home cooks, this MEHKO expansion is a huge step in the right direction,” said IJ Assistant Director of Activism Special Projects Jennifer McDonald. “We applaud Assemblymembers Waldron and Garcia for introducing it, and hope for more opportunities to continue expanding food freedom in California in the future.”
“It’s great to see assembly members taking this issue so seriously,” said Roya Bagheri, executive director of the COOK Alliance. “Expanding the MEHKO program will help hardworking Californians provide for their families—especially women, people of color and immigrants.”
IJ is the nation’s leading advocate for food freedom, helping to pass similar homemade food bills in more than half the states across the country.
The COOK Alliance is dedicated to legitimizing informal home cooking businesses and supporting culinary entrepreneurs in ways that are accessible and empowering to all.