November 27th, 2013
05:45 PM ET
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A Sriracha hot sauce factory is getting a chilly reception in Southern California.

A judge in Los Angeles County has ordered Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods to suspend operations at a plant in the city of Irwindale that local residents claim has caused an overpowering odor.

Irwindale claimed in a lawsuit that the stench was causing watery eyes, sore throats and headaches, prompting complaints from dozens of residents.

"You couldn't stay outside in some places," Irwindale city manager John Davidson said. "We've had softball teams that have had to cancel their games and practices because their eyes were watering."

The judge's ruling orders Huy Fong to cease any operations contributing to the nuisance-causing odor, Davidson said. The city has been pushing Huy Fong to install a new filtration system to address the issue.

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Filed under: Big Business • Business and Farming News • Hot • News

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Jimmy

    So who in the Irwindale city government is going to a piece of the 600k for the filtration system that May or may not work? Also who got paid when they won the contract to have the factory move to irwindale in the first place? Probably the same greedy politicos I'm inferring. Irwindale has now surpassed Orange County CA as the most pathic city in CA, congrats. I thought nothing could be more greedy and self serving than purchasing a house next to a busy airport then imposing a noise ordinance on the airport to raise your property value perhaps?

    April 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
  2. Scott

    The craziest thing here is that the city of Irwindale recruited this factory to come there from a neighboring city and is now shutting them down for doing what they knew they would do. I think that the politicians are getting hammered by their constituents and now want to save face by being as harsh as possible.

    January 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
  3. blahblahblah

    How stupid is this? American complain for lack of made in America products, and here we are, a US based company, making their hot sauce right here in America, and American complain. And let just say the owner moves his plant to say China, India, or any other third world country, American still complain

    December 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  4. johnny p

    the company does 80 million a year in sales the filter will cost 600 thousand do the math install the filter sell more product

    December 4, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  5. Nathan

    I LOVE this sauce, but yeah, you can't disrupt a community to make it.

    I like to mix it into most sauces I make, whether it is pasta sauce, pizza sauce, wing sauce, etc. and I drizzle it over pizza and other foods, too. Great stuff.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  6. Ally

    To those of you dissing Sriracha; Cooks Illustrated recently did a professional taste test of the more popular hot sauces. Sriracha came out on top as the most flavorful, best heat balance, most versitile and best bargain of them all.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Yep. I love Frank's Hot Sauce, but Rooster Sauce goes a lot better with more foods.

      December 4, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  7. Dick Longwood

    If you consume this product, you obviously have the palate of a goat.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  8. Bubba North

    Funny, you now can't find this stuff in the normal places in my area (eastern PA) as this article has caused a run on the product for those that use it frequently. I myself checked one place to find it sold out, checked another and bought the last 3 bottles.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  9. Thinking things through

    ...Talk about pepper spray!

    November 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  10. hasteur

    City (and residents) of Irwindale, Don't bite the hand that feeds you. For ~3 months out of the entire year the factory is in business, for the 9 others, it's not processing chilies. Why did the city council, zoning commission, etc. not take into account that processing chilies tends to release chili dust when initially approving the factory. As I understand it, the filteration system necessary to get the factory open is in the range of 20 million dollars. For that price, the company can leave, re-establish elsewhere that is willing to work along, and you're left with a factory building and no tax revenue.

    Think before you complain

    November 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • air breather

      So for three months we should not breathe? Or perhaps we should move out of town for three months?

      Tell you what, you dice up a couple jalapeno peppers, and saute them in a hot skillet until they are well caramelized. Do this every day for three months. Do it during months when you keep your windows closed, so that you can keep the air laden with the capsaicin gas you are creating. Don't use a vent, or open any windows. If you can do this for three months, with your elderly parents, and your young children all in the house breathing the pepper spray gas you are creating, then we can have a discussion why you think it is ok for a factory to release a gas known to be a strong irritant, and used by police as a weapon.

      I love hot peppers. Sriracha isn't my favorite source of pepper heat, but I use it when there isn't something better available to use. My favorite is made in the restaurant where I dine frequently. When they roast their chilis, they do it with powerful overhead vents on, and do it in the wee hours of the morning so as not to release a cloud when people might drive or walk into the cloud. But they do small batches, probably no more than a few pounds of dry pepper being roasted at a time. I cannot imagine what 3 months of factory production would do. My guess is that the population living in the downwind plume area has a high incidence of respiratory problem flair-ups during the factory runs, asthma, COPD, etc... I love hot hot hot stuff... When I go into a Thai restaurant, I get a 6 pepper item, and add a half cup of chopped serranos, and a half cup of the roasted chili to the entre (the voulume of the entre more than doubles), so that is probably about 30 pepper points on the 1 to 6 pepper scale... Even so, I would never want to breathe the stuff, and when I cook it at home I have to do it outside to keep from polluting the house to the point we have to vacate for a few hours (it has happened, the wife was not pleased).

      Sriracha isn't the only employer in that town, they aren't supporting the whole town, and the town doesn't owe them anything that justifies this assault on the air they breathe. The factory shouldn't emit polluted air, any more than they should emit any other form of pollution. No factory should emit any noxious or dangerous chemical into the air that passes path the edge of their property in any detectable portion.

      At home I only have this problem when I roast peppers in a skillet. In an industrial process, it should be possible to eliminate the air exposure all together. But interestingly I have made my own much-hotter-than-sriracha sauce many times, and it never goes into the air. I don't understand what they are doing that requires so much of their product to be sent up the smoke stacks (or out the kitchen vents). When me and my mom made our super-hot sauces, we never had a pepper gas problem. I think they just need to alter their process. I grind pepper all the time in the house, never have a problem. They are doing something wrong, and I bet it is correctable, they have to TRY.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:30 am |
      • Michael


        December 2, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  11. cam

    missing the main point on the irwindale hot sauce ruling – your commentators focused on 'grabbing it while you can .." get a little hoarding in there for thanksgiving? so reflective of our current culture ..... what is the 'real' story here? a small business that has grown, an all american immigrant success story. how dense was that residential neighborhood when the factory was established? more and more agricultural concerns are being pushed out of business when residential neighborhoods build around them – this is a serious environmental, economic, and cultural concern – can cnn give a little news? perspective? food for thought? meaningful discussion? instead of fluffy greed? sheesh

    November 28, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • patrick

      Meaningful discussion from a 24 news network? Next you'll want information actually fact checked before reporting instead of minute by minute speculation.

      November 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • air breather

      What I read in other locations is that it is a fairly new factory. It hasn't been there long.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  12. Mighty Mouser

    The Spice Must Flow.

    November 28, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Nathan

      You hereby win the internets.

      December 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
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