Home Cooking Model Policy

A guide for legalizing and regulating home-based food businesses in the 21st century.

About this document

The COOK Alliance hopes this model legislation and code will provide a useful guide for legalizing and regulating home-based food businesses in the 21st century. We have created these as open-source, living documents in the hopes that they continue to evolve alongside the growing home cooking legalization movement.

Currently, there are no standardized regulations to help guide states or regulatory officials in allowing cooks to prepare and sell meals from their homes. While several states have passed or are in the process of passing home cooking legislation (such as California, Utah, and Wyoming, the FDA model food code is silent on the activity.

The COOK Alliance is initially releasing two different documents, a model bill and a model regulatory code. Every state has different rules and regulations so these documents must be amended to integrate into relevant state and municipal laws.

These documents are offered under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license so that they can be used and edited by advocates and legislators.

Table of contents

Introduction

Home cooking and other local food production and consumption aren’t going anywhere. We need new post-industrial food system policies more than ever. Here, we introduce our framework for regulation of Home Cooking Operations, and why we believe this reform is essential.

Model Legislation

This model bill creates a framework for the inspection and permitting of Home Cooking Operations and the regulation of Online Food Platforms that serve as marketplaces for home cooks.

Model Code

Based on the FDA Model Food Code, this is a detailed set of regulations that right-sizes the food code for the home kitchen. It is for use by state and regulatory agencies to ensure appropriate safeguards and to add detail to the model legislation.

Published by the COOK Alliance

The COOK Alliance is a nonprofit whose mission is to establish just & people-powered food systems. We believe that legalizing home restaurants in the United States creates more economic access for cooks, healthy food options for customers, and cultural exchange for communities.

As the primary sponsor behind the first home restaurants bills in the US, we are now working to ensure equitable, accessible implementation in early adopting states and to extend the same opportunity to more home cooks across the nation. We are also increasingly active in supporting new Cottage Food policies and other local food movement initiatives.

We can be reached for technical assistance, partnership, or philanthropic inquiries at hello@cookalliance.org

Website, downloadable legislation and publishing system built by Andy Ayrey

License & Feedback

These documents are offered under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license so that they can be used and edited by advocates and legislators.

We hope to release new versions of these model documents periodically as the legislative landscape evolves and we continue to learn from early states’ experiences with implementation. Additional input is welcome and can be shared with us at any time by emailing advocacy@cookalliance.org with “Model Legislation Feedback” in the subject line.