About MEHKO

In 2019, the California Health and Safety Code was amended to establish a "Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation", also known as a MEHKO, as a new type of retail food facility. Local governments must also approve the establishment of MEHKOs. If MEHKOs are authorized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Department of Public Health - Environmental Health Division would be able to issue a permit to an individual to operate a mini restaurant in their private home within the jurisdiction of the Environmental Health Division (this would exclude the cities of Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon, which have their own health departments). State law requires that MEHKOs limit the number of meals that can be served (the cap is set at 90 meals per week and 30 meals per day), limit the revenue that can be earned yearly ($100,000), and it dictates how certain foods can be prepared.

MEHKOs are Currently Not Authorized

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) approved Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell's motion "Streamlining Access to Safe and Regulated Vending and Micro-Entrepreneurship Opportunities" on October 3, 2023. The Department of Public Health, in collaboration with County Counsel and the Department of Economic Opportunity were be directed to:

  1. Draft an ordinance within four months authorizing the permitting of MEHKOs by the Department of Public Health that would include an increase or waiver of the annual cap on revenue and number of meals for MEHKOs serving as a commissary kitchen for Compact Mobile Food Operations.
  2. Conduct outreach and stakeholder engagement as the ordinance governing MEHKOs is drafted. Streamline the permitting process for microentrepreneurs and establish those efficiencies within four months of the approval of the ordinance.
  3. The Department of Economic Opportunity in collaboration with the Department of Public Health will prepare a public education program for small home-based retail food operations on food safety that will be ready for implementation within four months.

On May 14, 2024, the Board adopted an ordinance that amended the County Code, Title 8 - Consumer Protection, Business and Wage Regulations and Title 11 - Health and Safety Code, to authorize Public Health-Environmental Health Division to establish a public health permit requirement for MEHKOs, to conduct health and safety inspections, and enforcement activities.

While the ordinance has been approved, the permitting of MEHKOs will not begin until November 1, 2024. During the next few months, Public Health will initiate the development of this new program and the Department of Economic Opportunity will begin an outreach and education program.

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Ordinance

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation Ordinance

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Implementation Timeline

Microenterprise home kitchen operation implementation timeline
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