California's Home Cooking Bill May be state law, but it's not yet legal where you live

SAN FRANCISCO -- There are hundreds of new laws on the books in California this year. But, there is one new law, in particular, that's cooking up a lot of excitement for people hoping to cash-in on their kitchen skills.

But, you shouldn't grab your apron just yet.

Tony Stumbaugh is a single Dad with a seriously smokey side-hustle. By day, Stumbaugh runs a kitchen and bakery at a Whole Foods. By night, he smokes meat from the driveway of his Santa Rosa home.

"This is way better than any bacon I ever bought at the store and so I started making some for friends and they're like we want more, we'll pay you, we'll buy some!"

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Stumbaugh says he makes less than $10,000 a year selling his meat. But, that's not exactly legal and Stumbaugh knows it.

"I've extensively looked at how to actually do this legally, especially from a small business perspective and it's just not really feasible without having a lot of capital to put up front."

But, thanks to AB626, a new bill called, The Homemade Food Operations Act, small-scale home cooks can legally sell food, made in their kitchens, to the public. Governor Brown signed the bill into state law, but individual counties still need to "opt in" to the permitting process before home businesses can get started.

"This is a real positive thing for California communities that we can see at least a large percentage of counties, by the end of this year, opt in and offering permits," said Matt Jorgensen who spent years drafting the new law.

Jorgensen lives in Oakland and is the coordinator of non-profit, COOK Alliance, which was the primary sponsor of the bill. "Home cooking is one of the best ways for folks to deal with cost of living increases and stay in their homes."

Under AB626, home food businesses will be allowed up $50,000 in gross sales. Home kitchens will have to pass an inspection to obtain a permit. Jorgensen says that could cost people several hundred dollars.

Go here for the full text for AB626.

Go here for more info on the COOK Alliance.

Check out more stories about California legislation.
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