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Selling Food From Home Los Angeles

California was once a big part of the wild, wild west in which just about any type of operation could be built and products or services sold. However, as the state grew and more and more people flocked to cities like Los Angeles, new laws were put in place to ensure all got to enjoy the beauty and opportunities offered here. Such laws included regulations for how to sell food from home, meaning today there are very few food operations that do not need permits in California and there are some places where getting permitting is incredibly difficult.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles is in the latter category. Those wanting to start selling food from home Los Angeles will find themselves trying to paddle upriver. In 2018, the state of California passed AB 626 which legalized home kitchen operations and allowed residents to apply for a permit to sell food from home and make upwards of $50,000 in gross sales each year. The next year, the state passed another bill entitled AB 277 which helped to spell out the regulations and show a clearer path for how home entrepreneurs could apply for a permit to sell food from home and make money. But not all counties jumped on board, with Los Angeles specifically not authorizing the permits of most home kitchen operations.

But if you live in Los Angeles County, don't despair quite yet. There is a growing movement by home-based chefs to change the rules and legalize at-home kitchens. We recommend joining these efforts to help change what's on the book and help everyone who wants to get that permit and licensing to make money from home. If you can't wait until then, then you might consider moving just across county lines to enjoy the more lax regulations of other parts of California that do offer permits for cottage food and at-home kitchen operators.

Do I Need a License to Sell Homemade Food in California?

Thanks to a flurry of laws passed in recent years and the surge of home kitchens due to coronavirus lockdowns, selling food from home California 2021 has become a lot easier than in previous years. But while the answer to do I need a license to sell homemade food in California is yes, there is a legal process you will need to go through.

First, you must choose from a list of approved cottage food products before you apply for a permit to sell food from home California. A good rule of thumb for what is readily allowed is that non-refrigerated goods will be in the clear, and those that need to be refrigerated either won't be allowed outright or will need special consideration. In other words, baked goods without cream or meat fillings are good to go under general home kitchen permitting, but those with cream or milk fillings aren't apt to be approved in most California counties.

The next step after choosing which food you want to sell is to go ahead and apply for what permits do I need to sell food from California. Under the California homemade food act and the current cottage food law California 2021, there are two cottage food operation permit types to choose from:

For both Class A and Class B permits, you will need to pay the cottage food license cost and you will need follow some basic food safety rules. With the Class A permit, your kitchen won't be inspected to be approved for the license but if there is a complaint about your food or products, then you will risk an inspection and permit suspension. These health and safety food rules include:

Two other important costs to consider before applying for your California cottage food permit are insurance and employees. There are insurance policies available for the home chef that will protect you in the event of something like a fire destroying the property you use to make items and protect you from a potential lawsuit due to a food sale.

In terms of employees, you can have members of your household and immediate family members help you with your growing business without ramifications. But if you are hiring an outside employee, the California cottage food law only permits one full-time employee and it will require you to follow all employment law stipulations for it.

How to Get a Permit to Sell Food From Home

Once you know what you want to sell and whether you want to submit a Class A permit California food application or a Class B permit California food application, you are ready to get started on the cottage food license application process.

The first step for how to get a permit to sell food from home is to visit your California county's Department of Public Health website and find the web page that will lis specifically what is required for your Class A food permit California or Class B food permit California in your county.

You may run into special requirements depending upon what county you apply for cottage food license California in. For example, a cottage food license Los Angeles or San Bernardino County includes the need for approval via the local city planning department or the county Land Use Services Department. This approval will typically be done to ensure you have access to potable water, necessary electricity, and other necessary infrastructure.

Once you have obtained the go ahead from the city or county planning departments, you can download your jurisdiction permit and license application. Remember, your city and county websites will always have the specific details and the application necessary for how to get a license to sell food in your area. Print and complete every part of the application. Do not leave any blanks! When you submit your Class A cottage food permit California or Class B cottage food permit, expect to pay a nominal food permit California price.

The submitted food permit application will take some time to go through the necessary channels. You should expect to hear an answer between two and eight weeks for more California areas. During this time, you should go ahead and make sure you have the fundamentals ready for your business. This includes solidifying your business name and branding, setting up a website or e-commerce store such as through Castiron, and figuring out a good supplier for all of your raw ingredients. These are things that will take some time but won't put you out too much in costs should your cottage food permit application be denied for any reason.

You should also consider looking for any local Facebook, MeetUp, or other social media groups for those in the California cottage food business. These social media groups can be a fantastic source of information relevant to your area and can serve as a good support group as you learn how to open and run your own cottage food business.

When you get the approval, it will be time to hit the ground running. Find a good insurance policy, get that kitchen ready for food prep (and inspection if you are applying for the Class B California permit), and start making your food! Use your approved permit to start applying at local farmers markets and other community events as tabling at these events is arguably the best way to get your name out in the neighborhood and start seeing real returns on your cottage food business.

Learn what you need to start a home-based food business in Los Angeles, and how to start a cottage food business in the state of California.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!

Amanda McMonigle

The Whimsical Cookie


Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.

Kim Sims

Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets


Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.

Katie Maschoff

Mill City Cooking Company


Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.

Daniella Smith

Oso Good Clean Eats


I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!

Ali Serpe

Kultured Kombucha


I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.

Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.

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