what is a mehko

Find Out The Details on MEHKOs

What is a Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation or MEHKO?

In short a MEHKO (or MHKO) stands for “micro-enterprise home kitchen operation” and is a California state approved method for chefs to run a mini-restaurant out of their home kitchen.

The MEHKO chef can serve meals in his or her home, deliver directly to the customer or prepare for pickup and takeout so long as all the food is cooked and served on the same day.

Although MEHKO’s are approved California state wide each county must opt-in individually. So far only Riverside County has fully approved MEHKO’s but other counties are in the process of approving MEHKOs.  

Even though a MEHKO may operate like a restaurant, there are some important limitations:

1.) Only one MEHKO is permitted per site.

2.) The operator must be the resident of the private home and is responsible for the operation.

3.) There is a maximum sales cap of $50,000

4.) A maximum of 30 meals per day and 60 meals per week can be served. Note: The county of certifications environmental health department may determine that based on food preparation capacity of the home a smaller number than this is allowed.

5.) Any person involved with the MEHKO must obtain a county Food Handler Certification.

6.) Only one full time employee, not including family or household members, is allowed

7.) No signage or other outdoor displays for advertising are allowed and all internet apps (called Internet Food Service Intermediaries) must be approved

8.) The operator of a MEHKO must successfully pass an approved and accredited food safety manager certification examination.

9.) The cooking, serving and associated areas must pass a county inspection.

9.) Food from a MEHKO cannot be sold to other food facilities for resale.

10.) All food must be prepared, cooked, and served on the same day.

11.) Delivery to the consumer must be done by an employee of the MEHKO, a family member, or household member or the permit holder.

12.) MEHKO’s may not produce, serve, or use raw milk, serve raw oysters, or any food that would present a food safety hazardous

* Remember that even though AB-626 was approved at a state level each California county must opt-in to the program and that counties specific requirements may differ slightly from the above.

Note: Previously to the approval of The California HomeMade Food Act, AB-626 home cooks could only apply for a Cottage Food Operations License. This type of license allows them to prepare packaged and labeled foods for sale from a limited approved list.

Limitations of MEHKOs

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