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Sriracha odor complaints could shut down hot sauce factory

Halloween

A Sriracha hot sauce factory in Irwindale may be ordered to halt production this week amid accusations from the city that powerful odors emanating from the facility are causing burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches among nearby residents.

The city is asking a judge to stop production at the hot sauce factory until the company submits a plan of action for mitigating the irritating odors, Irwindale City Atty. Fred Galante said.

“If they fix it and the odor problems stop, we don’t need this order; but so far the odor complaints continue,” said Galante, who said about 30 residents have filed or signed complaints with the city about the odors.

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The smell is so aggressive that one family was forced to move a birthday party indoors after the odor descended on the festivities, Galante said.

The city filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, claiming that the odor was a public nuisance and asking a judge to stop production until the smell can be reduced.

“Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action,” Galante said.

A judge is scheduled to decide whether to grant the order Thursday, he added.

The legal action comes after repeated visits between Irwindale officials and representatives from Huy Fong Foods to discuss methods of reducing the odors, according to the lawsuit.

Huy Fong representatives cooperated at first, but later denied there was an odor problem, saying their employees worked in similar olfactory settings without complaint, Galante said.

Calls and emails to Huy Fong Foods were not immediately returned Monday evening.

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frank.shyong@latimes.com

Twitter: @FrankShyong

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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