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San Diegans could soon launch businesses from their kitchens

Posted at 4:36 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 20:41:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diegans who want to sell the food they make in their home kitchens could soon have a legal path to do so.

On Thursday, County Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nora Vargas announced a proposal to authorize what are called Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations, or MEHKOs. The supervisors want to create rules and regulations for San Diego families to sell as many as 60 individual meals a week out of their homes, grossing up to $50,000 a year. While sales out of home kitchens are ongoing, Anderson said this is needed to get people the proper training so they aren't operating in legal limbo.

"We want to give these entrepreneurs an opportunity to come out of the gray, to get their licenses, to do everything correctly because they're making terrific products," he said.

Operators would need permits and undergo annual inspections. They would only be allowed to hire one non-family member for full-time equivalent hours.

Diana Tapiz, an Eastlake resident, said she would look forward to operating Tres Fuegos Cocina out of her home. She rented a commercial kitchen for her business starting in December 2019, but the $400 a day cost was prohibitive.

"We broke even the first two months and when we realized the amount of work, and that we had to operate more days and weren't ready with our family that's when we decided to end," she said.

A report from the Supervisors' staff says microenterprises exist in seven other California counties, and that there have been no recorded issues of food bourne illnesses from them.

The proposal will be introduced to the full Board of Supervisors at its Sept. 14 meeting.