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Irwindale Declares Sriracha Factory A 'Public Nuisance'

Three bottles of Sriracha hot sauce are shown in close-up.
Sriracha bottles
(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson
Getty Images)
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Things are heating up in the battle between the city of Irwindale and Sriracha. The City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday night that the smells coming from the hot sauce maker's factory is a "public nuisance."

And now Huy Fong Foods, the creator behind the beloved cock sauce, is expected to have 90 days to fix the stinky issue or city officials will go into the factory and fix it themselves, according to Pasadena Star News. However, the City Council will need to make another vote before enforcing the public nuisance declaration.

This 4-0 vote had moved forward despite the fact that Huy Fong Foods and its attorney John Tate told city officials that they would have an action plan in 10 days, according to the L.A. Times. They had also been working with the South Coast Air Management District (AQMD) on its filtration system early on when the complaints first started and had hoped to fix the problems by June 1, reported CBS Sacramento.

“We’re disappointed,” Tate told Pasadena Star News. “We had been led to believe we were providing the city what it wanted.”

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Tate added that the judgment seemed hurried and "a bit heavy handed" since they only found 12 residents in the entire city who complained about the factory. CBS Sacramento reported that the complaints were mostly filed from four households in a population of 1,400 residents in the industrial city.

The city of Irwindale filed a lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods last October saying the maker breached terms of their contract and that residents who lived near the 600,000-square-foot plant were suffering from burning eyes, headaches, heartburn, inflamed asthma and nosebleeds. (A trial is scheduled for November.) However, the company said that their own employees who worked even closer with the hot chilis had no complaints.

They lawsuit asked for a temporary restraining order in October to stop Huy Fong Foods from producing the spicy sauce, but a judge threw out the request. However, in November, a judge told the makers they had to stop their production that was making the smell, but Huy Fong Foods had already completed their pepper-grinding season by October, according to CBS Sacramento.

Huy Fong Foods CEO and his employees didn't attend the City Council meeting. The company received some support through testimonials. Pasadena Star News reported:

“I ask that the City of Irwindale reject this inflammatory and unnecessary public nuisance designation and work constructively with Huy Fong Foods to resolve these issues,” a statement from state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, said. “If not, I’m certain there are a number of cities right here in the San Gabriel Valley who would be happy to have a business like Huy Fong Foods in their community.”

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