For Immediate Release: January 12, 2022
(SAN DIEGO) — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance crafted by County staff to give chefs a legal way to sell prepared meals from their home kitchens. A second reading of this ordinance is scheduled for the January 26 board meeting, with it going into effect 30 days after that, if passed.
The model for microenterprise home kitchen operations, or “MEHKOs”, was introduced in the State legislature in 2018. The bill AB 626, now law, allows Counties to authorize these permitted home kitchens through an ordinance. San Diego County will become the 8th county in California to adopt a MEHKOs ordinance.
Supervisor Joel Anderson, who represents many East County communities in District 2, partnered with Vice Chair Nora Vargas, who represents the South Bay communities of District 1, by proposing the County of San Diego adopt MEHKOs into local food economy.
“I am thankful to County staff for working with the community on the drafting of this ordinance. I am also grateful that my Board colleagues, and especially Vice Chair Nora Vargas who co-
www.supervisorjoelanderson.com | @JoelAndersonCA | Joel.Anderson@sdcounty.ca.gov
sponsored this measure with me, voted to approve the first reading of this ordinance at Wednesday’s meeting,” Supervisor Joel Anderson shared.
He added, “MEHKOs will help not only aspiring restaurateurs who want to put their food to the test but can also serve as a supplemental income source for stay-at-home parents. It’s a win for the chefs and a win for the community.”
These home kitchens, like commercial kitchens, are regulated under the County and must be permitted to operate. There are also limitations on MEHKOs, such as the food needing to be sold on the same day it was prepared, and a cap of $50,000 being earned by a single home kitchen per year.
Of the more than 140 MEHKOs currently operating in the state of California, there have been no known incidences of food borne illness, nor any issues around the disposal of food waste.
Polling suggests that as much as 48% of those participating in the illegal food economy to be African American, Hispanic, or of multiple races. MEHKOs provide a clear path for these people to operate under the guidelines, training, and safety protocols of the County. As a result, home-cooked food can improve access to healthy foods for these underserved communities.
For more information on MEHKOs, please contact Supervisor Joel Anderson’s office at Joel.Anderson@sdcounty.ca.gov.