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Cottage Food Operations

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The Cottage Food Law went into effect on January 1, 2013, allowing the production of certain low risk foods in home kitchens and sales directly and indirectly to the public. Cottage Food Operators (CFO) can prepare and sell “non-potentially hazardous foods,” which are foods that are unlikely to grow harmful bacteria or other toxic microorganisms at room temperature. The list of foods is maintained by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and it is posted here: Cottage Food Operations (Approved Food List)

All cottage food operators will have to meet specified requirements pursuant to the California Health & Safety Code related to preparing foods that are on the approved food list. A food processor training course must be completed within three months of approval of the cottage food operation (CFO). The CFO must implement sanitary conditions, maintain food labels in accordance with federal and state regulations and comply with established gross annual sales limits.

Additional information from the California Department of Public Health may be found here.

Note: All paperwork for Cottage Food Operations must be submitted in person, by the applicant, for review by this department at our Kearny Mesa Location (5500 Overland Ave. San Diego, CA 92123)

California Department of Public Health:  Cottage Food Operations (Approved Food List)
Cottage Food Law:  California Health & Safety Code §114365-§114365.6
California Cottage Food FAQs:  English   Spanish
Ley de Alimentos Caseros - Preguntas Frecuentes:  en Español
San Diego Cottage Food Registration Form:  PDF
County Public Health Permit Application:  PDF
Zoning Requirements:  Permit/License Requirements from your City of Residence
Training Options:  State Food Processor Course or San Diego County Approved Courses
San Diego Cottage Food Label Requirements:  PDF
San Diego Cottage Food Self Inspection Checklist:  Class A - Self Inspection Checklist
Do You Qualify as a Cottage Food Operation?  Flow Chart Screening PDF
San Diego Cottage Food Potable Water Requirements:  PDF
State Approved Laboratories for Water Quality Analysis:  PDF

Should you have any questions or comments, please contact our Food and Housing Duty Specialist at (858) 505-6900 or e-mail: fhdutyeh@sdcounty.ca.gov