Success! California Legalizes Sale of Home Cooked Food

Mariza Ruelas, from Stockton in Northern California, loves to make and sell home-cooked meals and especially her favorite, ceviche. But in 2016, she found out it was a crime to sell food prepared in her home when an undercover cop purchased food from her, and she was subsequently charged with a misdemeanor.

With the help of a Care2 petition, she was able to get rid of the charge by doing 80 hours of community service, but that wasn’t enough for her; she decided to become an activist herself and make some changes. 

Together with Matt Jorgensen, of the C.O.O.K Alliance, she started a Care2 petition demanding that California pass AB 626, legalizing the sale of home-cooked food in the state. 

As the petition states:

“Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (Coachella) has introduced a new bill, AB 626, to legalize the small-scale sale of homemade food. It would also ensure food safety practices by requiring home cooks to comply with food handling rules.”

Specifically, the law creates a permitting and inspection process for “Microenterprise Home Kitchens,” or MHKs, which can sell up to $50,000 of food a year. Californians have to first apply for a permit. Once they receive authorization, they agree to sell no more than 60 meals a week and to deal directly with their customers. 

Home cooks would also be inspected by the local enforcement agency and follow a required set of health and sanitation standards, like any other food facility.

The petition garnered more than 60,000 signatures, and Care2 has been working with over 100 other organizations for three years to get this legislation passed.


On September 19, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 626 into law, making California the first state to authorize home cooks to sell their food — offering economic opportunities for chefs across the state.

Congratulations and thank you to all the Care2 members who signed the Care2 petition.

Importantly, most of the people whose work will now be decriminalized are women, immigrants and people of color. 

As Garcia exclaimed,

“The success of AB 626 will propel California into the new food enterprise frontier, one that is just, inclusive and contains opportunities for all. Legitimizing these home businesses will offer a means of economic empowerment and pathways for many to achieve the ‘American dream’ of success and income self-sufficiency.”

The team at Care2 is proud to have played a big part in driving public awareness of this issue. 

And now that California has passed this legislation, half a dozen groups in other states are planning to come up with their own copycat bills within the next year.

A huge shout-out to Jorgensen and Ruelas on the success of their petition.

Do you want to raise awareness about an injustice? Why not join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to create your own petition and make your voice heard today!



Photo Credit: thinkstock


Jeanne M
Jeanne M1 months ago

Good news!

Ruth R
Ruth R2 months ago

Thanks. I am thankful that this worked out. I did sign. " You signed on March 28, 2017 Share with friends. Get More Signatures! 33,212 SUPPORTERS IN CALIFORNIA
62,663 SUPPORTERS 65,000 GOAL"

Lindsay K
Lindsay K2 months ago

An outbreak of common sense!! Good news. Many thanks for sharing.

ANA MARIJA R2 months ago

I thank to myself and to others for signing this petition... Thank you.

Mia B
Mia B5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Justin M
Justin M5 months ago


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson5 months ago

Good luck!

Sophie A
Sophie A5 months ago

thank you

Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.