Home-based Cottage Food
Cottage Food Operation - AB 1616
AB 1616, the California Homemade Food Act, was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 21, 2012 and became effective on January 1, 2013. This new law allows certain foods, known as Cottage Foods, to be made in private homes and sold to the public. Individuals who own and run these home-based businesses are known as Cottage Food Operators (CFOs).
Starting the application process for your Cottage Food Operation:
It is exciting to start your own food business in the comfort of your home. The first thing for you to decide is what cottage food you will be selling and how you will sell the food. The following information will help you decide the class of Cottage Food Operation (CFO) that suits your business and what you have to do to qualify as a CFO with the local Health Department.
You can use your home's kitchen for the preparation, packaging, storage, or handling of cottage food products, as well as the ingredients and equipment that you use to make these products. Attached rooms within the home are to be used only for storage.
As a CFO business, you are allowed to prepare only non-potentially hazardous foods in the home you live in. The food you wish to prepare must be listed on the State's approved list of food products, provided below. You are allowed to sell the food you prepared to the public, either directly or indirectly. How you decide to sell the cottage food will determine the class of CFO and the application process you will need to follow.
There are no direct US mail sales and/or shipments of Cottage Food items to customers.
Class A Cottage Food Operators
A "Class A" CFO can only sell cottage foods directly to the consumer and is required to register with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and submit a "self-certification compliance checklist". Direct sales can be made:
- From your home
- At holiday bazaars or temporary events, bake sales or food swaps *
- At farm stands and Certified Farmers' Markets *
- Through community-supported agriculture subscription *
*Direct sales may require additional permits.
Class B Cottage Food Operators
A "Class B" CFO can sell cottage foods directly to the consumer, as with Class A and may also sell indirectly to consumers within Los Angeles County. A "Class B" CFO is required to register and obtain a permit from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
A permit is issued only after our inspection has verified that your home kitchen meets requirements. In addition to direct sales, indirect sales can be made to:
- Permitted restaurant
- Permitted grocery/ food market retail
- Permitted mobile food facility (i.e. food trucks)
Below information provides details on the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) and Cottage Foods:
To obtain information regarding the approved cottage foods, labeling requirements, and food processor course, please visit California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website Cottage Food Operations page.
How much does it cost to become a CFO in Los Angeles County?
Effective August 8, 2013, new fees for Cottage Food Operator Registrations and Permits were implemented, as approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on July 9, 2013. All Cottage Food Operator Class A applications received beginning 8-9-2013 must include the new fees indicated below. Cottage Food Operator Class B applications will be received without a fee, however payment is required prior to issuance of the Permit.
Class A Registration: $118.00
Class B Permit (includes review & permit): $292.00
Report a Problem
If you encounter a problem with a homebased cottage food business, or to report any public health issues, call the Environmental Health Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Customer Call Center at (888) 700-9995. Telephone agents are available on Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM, or File a Complaint Online.
Public Health will not ask you about your immigration status and you can file a report without giving your name.
For help with other employment issues, such as fair wages, breaks, and more, contact the California Labor Commissioner at 320 W. 4th Street, Suite 450, Los Angeles 90013 or call (213) 620-6330. You will not be asked about your immigration status and interpreters are available to help you.
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm
For Cottage A if you have questions, please contact the following:
County of Los Angeles Public Health
5050 Commerce Drive
Baldwin Park, CA 91706-1423
Telephone Number: (626) 430-5560
For Cottage B if you have questions, please contact the Environmental Health Specialized Food Service Program.