If you require Sriracha sauce — and lots of it — with every meal you might consider picking up a few extra bottles right now.
The three hot sauces made by Huy Fong Foods will need to stay in the factory 30 days before being shipped to ensure that the contents of the uncooked sauces are free of microorganisms, according to a California Department of Public Health order. And that means that the company won't be able to restock suppliers until mid-January.
The issue apparently is technical and came about as a result of a review of the way the sauces are manufactured without cooking. There was no hint of possible contamination and the decision does not affect products on store shelves. No recall was issued for existing stocks.
The change was necessary to ensure the product is safe throughout its entire shelf life. "Generally speaking, acidified foods that are not prepared using a thermal process (heat step) must use an alternative method of controlling microorganisms that may be present in the food product," Anita Gore, spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health told the Los Angeles Times in an email. "Holding products for a period of time at a specified pH level is one method of controlling those microorganisms."
Sauces currently in the pipeline must be held in the company's Irwindale factory for at least 30 days before shipping out to various retailers.
The stricter guidelines come at a time when Huy Fong Foods is already facing a list of production setbacks after a Supreme Court judge ordered the partial shutdown of the plant in late November, after the city of Irwindale sued the company, claiming its chile odors were a public nuisance.
Huy Fong Foods began holding shipments this week. The result? Sriracha lovers are on the verge of hysteria at the mere thought of a shortage. (Only half-joking here, folks.)
There are many questions that remain to be answered about this latest wrinkle in the Sriracha delivery pipeline, and we've asked Gore for more information. We will keep you posted.
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