Re: “How Santa Cruz County’s Underground Chefs Hope to Go Legit” (GT, 6/8): I strongly support bill AB626 that legalizes the sale of prepared meals from Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKOs). Increasingly, our time, energy and money are spent on food made by automated corporate systems instead of people, which erodes the humanity of caring for each other through food. AB626 is a bold move to form symbiotic relationships between community and food. The purpose of food goes beyond something that is profitable and fills us up. That healthy, nutrient-dense food is fundamental to all life. AB626 creates a safe, regulated and diverse food system that is connected to the culture and needs of the regional populations that it serves. MEHKOs promote good citizenship through creating jobs with an affordable legal path to individual economic empowerment. Our Department of Environmental Health was against the cottage food bill when it first came out, as well. There is no evidence that home kitchens increase the risk of foodborne illness. MEHKO-permitted home food operations must be inspected by local health inspectors, and operators must follow health, sanitation and food manager certification requirements just like any other food facility. The bill gets approved through a majority vote by our county supervisors. Please support the implementation of AB 626 in Santa Cruz County by signing the online petition on our local “Santa Cruz MEHKO Coalition” Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/1017770852163815.
Penny Ellis | Boulder Creek
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