Sriracha’s Huy Fong Foods CEO Compares Regulators To Communists

sriracha CEO huy fong controversy

David Tran, the CEO behind Huy Fong Foods and Sriracha — the iconic “rooster sauce” that’s now ubiquitous across the American foodie landscape — has harsh words for the U.S. after months of regulatory battles.

Tran’s Sriracha has been both hugely popular and the center of controversy, after a new and expanded location caused what he says is communism-like regulation over his business and factory.

Sriracha is well-loved for its goes-with-everything heat and spice, but locals in California did not feel the same way about the sauce’s charms. While the rest of us were thrilled at the news of ramped up production at Huy Fong Foods, neighbors felt the smell of garlic emanating from the factory was too intense… and began a series of legal maneuvers to deal with the issue permanently.

As a result, Sriracha panic rose, and the sauce became the subject of many supply scares. Given its popularity, restaurants across the country rely on Sriracha as an exclusive ingredient in dishes and as a condiment.

Huy Fong Foods CEO David Tran spoke Monday about what he feels is an ongoing campaign to drive him from Irwindale, California, comparing the persistent legal skirmishes to the restrictions that led him to emigrate from Vietnam to America.

The business some have deemed a “public nuisance,” Tran said, has triggered feelings he hasn’t felt in three decades. He told NPR that the battle reminds him of why he originally fled his home country, saying, “Today, I feel almost the same. Even now, we live in [the] USA, and my feeling, the government, not a big difference…”

Reason adds that while California has been unfriendly to Sriracha and Huy Fong Foods, the CEO is also courting offers from states that are a lot less worried about the smell of garlic:

“Tran has received offers from public officials throughout the country that want to court Huy Fong Foods. Texas, which is far more business-friendly than California, has made the biggest push. But, because his peppers are grown locally, Tran said he won’t move the current operation. He did indicate that he may open another factory elsewhere to meet the growing demand for the sauce.”

Huy Fong Foods’ CEO David Tran certainly seems disillusioned by his fight to keep Sriracha supplies level in the United States. But we can’t be the only ones wondering how California residents manage to worry about the smell of Sriracha over the scent of sticky icky surely pervading the state — don’t these people get the munchies?

[Image: Huy Fong Foods, Sriracha]