Judge: Sriracha Sauce Production Can Continue, For Now

Residents in the San Gabriel Valley city say the chili odor is offensive. The company says the pungent scent is part of a tasty sauce

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Thursday, Oct 31, 2013  |  Updated 5:00 PM EDT
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Sriracha chili sauce is produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory on Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013.

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The stink over the odor from a sauce-maker's factory went before a judge who denied a Southern California city's request Thursday for a temporary halt to production of the popular brand Sriracha.

The judge called the city's request involving Sauce-maker Huy Fong Foods Inc. a "very radical order" on short notice.

The request from the San Gabriel Valley city of Irwindale, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, was in response to complaints from factory neighbors who have described the odor as "offensive." A lawsuit calling the factory a public nuisance was filed Monday.

The lawsuit demands the company halt production of Sriracha until the spicy odor of ground peppers is no longer a problem. The judge did not grant the temporary restraining order Thursday, but a Nov. 22 hearing was scheduled to discuss a preliminary injunction.

"You're asking for a very radical order on 24-hour notice," Judge Robert O'Brien told attorneys representing Irwindale.

Thursday's ruling allows the factory to finish processing peppers needed for next year's sauce supply, according to the Times. The Nov. 22 hearing will focus on whether the factory should be shut down while the company addresses the odor issue.

Attorneys for Irwindale told City News Service after the hearing that they are hopeful a filtering system the company claims to have installed will solve the odor problem.

David Tran (pictured, right), chief executive and founder of Huy Fong Foods, has told The Los Angeles Times he twice fitted filters to the factory's exhaust vents. He added that the peppers' pungent qualities make for a tastier sauce.

Sriracha is Huy Fong Foods best known and best selling product. The sauce is made from chiles that are ground into a paste. The bright red sauce is then packaged in iconic green-top squeeze bottles and used on soups, salads and just about anything else that needs a spicy kick.

The company opened a 68,000-square-foot factory in Rosemead in 1986 and the Irwindale plant in 2010. It also produces Chili Garlic Sauce, a ground chili pasted called Sambal Oelek and Sambal Badjak, a chili paste with onions.

Word of the Irwindale dispute prompted a North Texas city councilman on Wednesday to write a letter to Huy Fong Foods, inviting the makers of the popular sauce to relocate.

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