The California Senate’s vote yesterday to pass AB 626, which would allow the sale of meals prepared in home kitchens and improve public health safeguards around the existing informal food economy, would benefit many of California’s entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, immigrants and people or color.
Without the fear of fines, AB 626 would permit thousands of existing home cooks to openly access business education and training on safe food handling practices. Small-scale microenterprises are an important tool for those who want to grow their business but don’t have access to sufficient capital to enter the commercial food industry. What’s more, this bill would protect consumers by ensuring public officials have access to the kitchens where the food is prepared and protect their rights to use existing public health reporting mechanisms if concerns arise.
This measure would be particularly beneficial to women and people of color: groups that are starting businesses at remarkably high rates but often struggle to access funding and resources to get their businesses off the ground. In fact, a poll by the C.O.O.K. Alliance found roughly 85 percent of cooks in the informal food economy are women, 35 percent are first-generation immigrants, 40 percent are people of color and 40 percent of household incomes under $40,000 per year.
We support any legislation that would help entrepreneurs thrive, and AB 626 would do just that. We’re glad the California legislature recognizes that this bill would bolster small business activity in the state, and we hope Gov. Brown signs it quickly following a procedural vote by the California State Assembly.