California City Turns Up Heat on Sriracha Maker
A small Southern California town has turned up the heat on the makers of the wildly popular Sriracha hot sauce, telling them that if they can’t keep their bottling plant from smelling up the neighborhood, the city will.
The Irwindale City Council voted 4-0 Wednesday to tentatively declare Huy Fong’s 2-year-old bottling plant a public nuisance. If a second vote, scheduled for April 23, makes the declaration official, Huy Fong will have 90 days to stop releasing the spicy smells that neighbors say burn their eyes and throats and make them sneeze and cough.
If the smells still persist, the Los Angeles suburb says it will have the authority to enter the plant, take whatever measures are necessary to kill the odor, and bill the company for its efforts.
Reaction to the move was swift and heated.
State Sen. Ed Hernandez, who represents the area, advised Irwindale to cool it, saying if the city of 1,400 residents doesn’t want the maker of arguably the world’s most popular hot sauce, he’s sure there are several other cities in his district that do.
"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," he said in a statement.
The company’s attorney, John Tate, complained the vote was akin to "thumbing Huy Fong in the eye," since it came after he told the city that Huy Fong was working with regional air-quality officials on a plan to make the smell go away by June 1.