April 16, 2024
Supervisors’ Chair Nora Vargas meets with members of the the San Diego MEHKO Coalition. Picture by way of @sdfoodsys Twitter

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 Wednesday to amend an ordinance that enables micro-enterprise dwelling kitchen operations in San Diego County.

In impact since Jan. 5, the ordinance covers working insurance policies, together with what number of meals could be ready per day, charges and cottage meals operations, and permits operators to promote meals utilizing as much as two permitted carts.

The state Division of Public Well being defines a micro-enterprise dwelling kitchen, or MEHKO, as a meals facility operated by residents in a personal dwelling, “the place meals is saved, dealt with and ready, and could also be served to customers.”

Final December, the board voted 4-0 in favor of the ordinance, as a part of a second studying. In keeping with data on Wednesday’s assembly agenda, that ordinance “inadvertently didn’t embody” two choices based mostly on present state regulation:

  • rising the variety of meals {that a} MEHKO cart can serve, now at 80 meals per day and not more than 200 per week
  • a rise in most gross annual gross sales for a MEHKO cart enterprise, from $100,000 to $150,000 yearly

In keeping with the county, cottage meals operations are low-risk meals merchandise not requiring refrigeration — resembling bread, pie or dried meals — which might be made in dwelling kitchens and bought to customers.

Throughout their Nov. 8 assembly, supervisors superior the ordinance for a remaining vote after listening to a pilot program replace and constructive suggestions from home-kitchen entrepreneurs.

On Wednesday, Supervisors Monica Montgomery Steppe and Nora Vargas praised the home-kitchen business.

Montgomery Steppe described MEHKOs as a workforce-development alternative, whereas Vargas talked about that some operators now have sufficient sources to open a brick-and-mortar location.

In January 2022, the board accepted a two-year pilot program for MEHKOs, which advocates say have advantages resembling:

  • regulating unsafe personal kitchen practices that might trigger food-borne sickness
  • selling “meals justice” in communities missing entry to wholesome and reasonably priced meals choices
  • enabling dwelling cooks (who’re largely ladies, immigrants and folks of colour) to make use of their expertise and generate revenue

Supervisor Joel Anderson was absent from Wednesday’s assembly, whereas Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer was not current when the board voted.

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.