A Sriracha hot sauce factory was declared a public nuisance by the Irwindale, California City Council. The council also determined that Huy Fong Foods violated their contract with the city. The council began investigating the facility when residents complained about offensive odors.
Last year, several residents appeared before City Council, complaining that the aroma of garlic and chili around the factory is oppressive.
For many, the odor is not only annoying, it is also causing health concerns. A number of residents testified that the stench has caused headaches, sore throats, and eye irritation.
Following the initial complaint, city officials discussed the issue with Huy Fong Foods executives. Although the company took steps to reduce the odors, it simply was not enough.
Attorney John Tate, who represents the company, said Huy Fong Foods has committed to finding a long-term solution before June 1. However, City Council was not willing to wait.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District has worked with the council, testing air quality in and around the factory. As reported by Syracuse.com, the AQMD determined Huy Fong Foods is making progress. Despite the findings, city officials are not satisfied with the results.
Attorney Tate said the recent declaration is an example of “the city flexing its muscle and thumbing Huy Fong in the eye.”
Company officials said filters have been installed on the factory’s vents to reduce the odors. However, it would be virtually impossible to eliminate the odors completely:
“To filter 100 percent, I haven’t found any engineer [that] can do it.”
As reported by NBC News, Huy Fong Foods was founded by Vietnamese immigrant David Tran. In 1980, Tran opened his first facility in Los Angeles. As the hot sauce gained popularity, Tran expanded his business to Rosemead and Irwindale.
The Irwindale location has been open for two years and employs 60 permanent and 140 seasonal workers. Company officials estimate the facility produces nearly 200,000 bottles of sauce per day.
As the Irwindale City Council has declared the Sriracha hot sauce factory a public nuisance, the facility is now facing closure.
Several local politicians have pledged support for the hot sauce company. State Senator Ed Hernandez asked the city to “reject this inflammatory and unnecessary public nuisance designation and work constructively with Huy Fong Foods to resolve these issues.”
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez said he is concerned that closing the Sriracha hot sauce will negatively impact the local economy.
The Irwindale City Council has declared the Sriacha hot sauce factory a public nuisance. However, the council is expected to give the company 90 days to eliminate the offensive odors.
[Image via Bing and You Offend Me]