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Sriracha Factory Declared a Public Nuisance

Sriracha Factory Declared a Public Nuisance


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Let's hope that these little bottles of pure gold...er, red hot sauce, won't be disappearing anytime soon.

Say it isn’t so! The beloved Sriracha hot sauce — which has fans slathering it on everything from burgers, to wontons, and even on popcorn — may be in serious danger. Huy Fong Foods, the parent company that makes Sriracha, has been at odds with their factory’s host city of Irwindale, Calif. for months now because the residents claim that their eyes and noses are offended by the smell of chili all day long. Despite the fact that Huy Fong’s attorneys have said that the company was working on fixing and eliminating the offensive odors by June 1st, the Irwindale City Council voted this week that the Sriracha factory was a “public nuisance,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Air quality officials have declared that the smell could be fixed through active carbon filters. Once the City Council decides to adopt this resolution, the factory will have 90 days to fix the offensive odor, otherwise the city itself will have authority to go in and make changes to assuage the eye-watering community.

So what does this mean for our favorite hot sauce? Even though the term “public nuisance” is a strong one, Irwindale officials want to keep the factory where it is, and not tear it down.

"I respect the fact that they are here. But they know there's a problem and it needs to be fixed," Councilman Albert Ambriz said.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi


Sriracha Factory Given 90-Day Ultimatum as Spicy Fumes Declared a 'Public Nuisance'

A Southern California community is feeling the Sriracha heat -- so much so that its city council has unanimously declared a local factory that churns out the cult-favorite hot sauce a “public nuisance.”

With residents of Irwindale claiming that the factory's spicy fumes are burning their eyes and throats, the ruling states that Huy Fong Foods, which produces Sriracha, must submit a mitigation plan within 10 days and have the issue resolved by June 1.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, a pollution control agency, has offered to help craft a solution that involves the use of active carbon filters, reports The Los Angeles Times.

This isn’t the first time that spicy Sriracha vapors have irritated Irwindale residents. Last October, the city sued Huy Fong Foods and asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to completely halt production on the sauce.

At the time however, the annual pepper-grinding season, which runs from August to October, had ended. That trial is set for later this year.

Huy Fong Foods opened its $40 million plant two years ago in Irwindale -- an industrial city of 1,400 residents. The privately company took in about $85 million last year, according to Fox News.


Irwindale Declares Sriracha Factory A 'Public Nuisance'

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.”

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:


California Sriracha Factory Declared a Public Nuisance

After delaying a vote on the matter in February, the City Council of Irwindale, CA has unanimously voted to declare the embattled Huy Fong Foods factory a public nuisance. The LA Times reports that once the "expected official resolution" goes into effect, the factory will have 90 days to solve its alleged odor issues. According to the Associated Press, the declaration "will allow city officials to enter the factory and make changes if the odors persist after the deadline."

This isn't the only course of action that Irwindale has taken against the hot sauce makers. Back in the Fall the city took Huy Fong Foods to court, with residents complaining that the factory's production caused unpleasant odors and burning eyes. In late November, a judge ordered that Huy Fong Foods cease any operations that cause irritating odors, although how exactly they were supposed to do that was unspecified. The judge also made it clear that there was a "lack of credible evidence" linking the various cited ailments like burning eyes and headaches to the odors. A trial is set for November.

Still, the City Council's declaration comes as something of a surprise. At February's city council meeting an official from the South Coast Air Quality Management District reported 40 out of 61 complaints about the factory came from just four households. South Coast Air Quality Management District also told the council: "We have not determined that there has been a public nuisance that requires us to take any enforcement action."

South Coast Air Quality Management District has reportedly offered assistance to Huy Fong Foods in coming up with a plan to solve the odor problem. An attorney for the Sriracha producers says the company will submit a plan to solve the problem by June 1 and adds: "The City Council is determined to assert its authority regardless of the status of the odor remediation efforts."


Irwindale Council declares Sriracha smell a public nuisance

The Irwindale City Council has voted unanimously to declare the spicy smell of Sriracha hot sauce production a public nuisance.

Once the council adopts an expected official resolution at its next meeting, hot sauce maker Huy Fong Foods will have about 90 days to mitigate the odor, which residents say burns their eyes and throats at certain times of day.

The 4-0 vote during a Wednesday night hearing came despite assurances from company attorney John Tate that Huy Fong Foods planned to submit an action plan within 10 days and have the smell fixed by June 1.

Officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District have been performing tests at the facility and have offered to help the company craft a mitigation plan. Although they would not release the test results, AQMD officials indicated that the smell issues could be resolved with active carbon filters -- a technology the company has used in the past.

“The City Council is determined to assert its authority regardless of the status of the odor remediation efforts,” Tate said.

Irwindale already has sued Huy Fong Foods in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the sauce maker breached terms of its development agreement and created a public nuisance. A judge granted the city a preliminary injunction and a trial is set for November.

The Council sought another public nuisance designation as insurance in case Huy Fong Foods does not install smell mitigation measures, officials said. At the Wednesday hearing, the Council asserted the city has the right to eventually enter the factory and make the changes itself, while assessing the costs to the factory.

Complaints about the Sriracha odor have attracted widespread attention one Irwindale public hearing saw a group of 100 protesters cram into the council chambers.

No demonstrators showed up Wednesday night. But state Sen. Ed Hernandez sent a representative to deliver a statement, calling Huy Fong Foods one of the “shining stars” of the San Gabriel Valley’s vibrant business community and offering to help the sauce maker find a home in a neighboring city.

“I ask that the city of Irwindale reject this inflammatory and unnecessary ‘public nuisance’ designation and constructively work with Huy Fong Foods to resolve these issues,” Hernandez said in a statement.

Councilman Albert Ambriz said that the city wants to keep the hot sauce factory.

“I respect the fact that they are here. But they know there’s a problem and it needs to be fixed,” Ambriz said.


Sriracha Factory Declared Public Nuisance

Bad news if you like shitty hot sauce: On Wednesday, the Irwindale City Council declared the factory that produces Sriracha a public nuisance. The factory now has 90 days to find a way to stop the odor, which residents say burns their eyes and throats, causing heartburn, nose bleeds, and inflamed asthma.

The council voted unanimously against Huy Fong Foods, Sriracha's parent company, despite testimony from officials at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, who said progress was being made at the factory. John Tate, an attorney for Huy Fong Foods also assured the council that he would present a proposal to mitigate the odor by June 1 within 10 days.

"The City Council is determined to assert its authority regardless of the status of the odor remediation efforts," Tate told the Los Angeles Times after the vote. Tate later told the Associated Press that "the city flexing its muscle and thumbing Huy Fong in the eye."

Last fall, the city of Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods, claiming the Sriracha factory created a public nuisance and violated terms of its agreement with the city. A trial date for the lawsuit was set for November.


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Sriracha Factory Given 90-Day Ultimatum as Spicy Fumes Declared a 'Public Nuisance'

A Southern California community is feeling the Sriracha heat -- so much so that its city council has unanimously declared a local factory that churns out the cult-favorite hot sauce a &ldquopublic nuisance.&rdquo

With residents of Irwindale claiming that the factory's spicy fumes are burning their eyes and throats, the ruling states that Huy Fong Foods, which produces Sriracha, must submit a mitigation plan within 10 days and have the issue resolved by June 1.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, a pollution control agency, has offered to help craft a solution that involves the use of active carbon filters, reports The Los Angeles Times.

This isn&rsquot the first time that spicy Sriracha vapors have irritated Irwindale residents. Last October, the city sued Huy Fong Foods and asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to completely halt production on the sauce.

At the time however, the annual pepper-grinding season, which runs from August to October, had ended. That trial is set for later this year.

Huy Fong Foods opened its $40 million plant two years ago in Irwindale -- an industrial city of 1,400 residents. The privately company took in about $85 million last year, according to Fox News.


Sriracha hot sauce factory smell deemed a public nuisance by Irwindale

IRWINDALE >> The popular Sriracha hot sauce found itself in hot water Wednesday night when the City Council unanimously declared the factory that produces the sauce a public nuisance.

After giving Huy Fong Foods six weeks to work with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to conduct testing at the factory, the City Council determined the odor coming from the factory has created a problem for residents. The council also determined the Sriracha factory breached its contract with the city.

The Council is expected to give Huy Fong Foods 90 days to address the odor problems before city officials enter the factory to fix the problems themselves.

Stephen Onstot, an attorney for the city, said it would require another City Council vote to enforce the public nuisance order.

The council heard testimony at a Feb. 26 public hearing from several residents who complained about the strong chili odors coming from the factory and more than a dozen factory employees who implored the council to keep the factory open.

The public hearing continued Wednesday night with little fanfare. Neither factory employees, who wore red T-shirts and protested the last hearing, nor CEO David Tran attended the meeting.

“We’re disappointed,” said Huy Fong’s attorney, John Tate. “We had been led to believe we were providing the city what it wanted.”

Tate disputed the council’s finding that there was enough evidence that showed the odors created a public nuisance.

“They seemed to be in a hurry to find a violation, when the evidence last time we were here showed about 12 people from the entire city having a complaint. It seemed to be to be a bit heavy handed,” Tate said.

Councilman H. Manuel Ortiz abstained from the discussion and vote because he lives near the factory.

“We worked hand-in-hand with Huy Fong Foods,” said Councilman Albert Ambriz. “I still feel there’s enough verbal and documentary evidence to constitute this as a public nuisance.”

New testimony came from two local politicians pledging support for Huy Fong Foods.

“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.”

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, said in a statement he was concerned about the effect the factory’s closure would have on the San Gabriel Valley economy and the entire state.

Before the vote, Tate told the council Huy Fong Foods would prepare a timeline to mitigate the odors emanating from the factory within 10 days.

He said he believed the company would be able to fix the odor problem on or before June 1. The chili grinding season, which residents say creates the strongest odors, begins in late August.

An attorney for the city said the public nuisance order would not need to be enforced if Huy Fong fixed the problem before June 1.

Mohsen Nazemi, AQMD deputy executive director, said AQMD inspectors have taken air samples inside the plant in the last few weeks while factory workers have been mixing the hot sauce. He said a carbon filtration system should alleviate the odors.

Councilman Julian Miranda asked if that filtration system would work during the grinding season.

“We think that a similar type of technology can be used,” said Nazemi. �use they are not doing any grinding, we didn’t have the opportunity to measure what type of pollutants are coming off. We believe it might be similar to mixing operation.”

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered Huy Fong Foods in November to halt any operations that created the smell and immediately make changes to mitigate the smell after the city filed a lawsuit against the company. The chili grinding season was already completed by the time the judge issued his order, according to Huy Fong’s attorney.

Huy Fong officials said it has installed filters on the roof of the factory, but is working with AQMD to find long-term solutions.

City officials said the complaints continued. Data provided by AQMD showed that the majority of complaints about a smell coming from the Sriracha factory came from four households in the city of about 1,400 residents. The AQMD had a total of 61 complaints.


Sriracha saga continues: Factory declared a public nuisance

A Southern California city has declared the factory that produces the popular Sriracha hot sauce a public nuisance.

The Irwindale City Council's action Wednesday night gives the factory 90 days to make changes to stop the spicy odors that prompted complaints from some residents last fall. Declaring a public nuisance will allow city officials to enter the factory and make changes if the odors persist after the deadline.

The decision came despite testimony by air-quality experts that progress was being made toward a resolution. The South Coast Air Quality Management District said its inspectors have taken air samples inside the plant, and believed the information gathered should allow the factory and the city to resolve their differences.

Attorney John Tate, who represents Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods, Inc., said the company had been working with the AQMD on its filtration system since the complaints first arose and was committed to finding long-term solutions by June 1.