Could this be the end of Sriracha? City claims chile odor causing headaches, burning eyes

The city filed suit to suspend production of Sriracha hot sauce at the Huy Fong Foods factory, saying the odors from the plant are a public nuisance.

Most chile lovers are addicted to the burn and garlic-chile scent of Sriracha sauce, the popular Asian condiment with the rooster on the label and the bright green cap. But about 30 residents in the city of Irwindale, where Huy Fong Foods, one of the best-known Sriracha producers is located, have filed complaints that the odor is affecting their eyes, irritating throats and causing headaches.

The city filed a lawsuit Monday claiming the chile odor is a public nuisance and asking a judge to stop production at the company’s new 655,000-square-foot factory until the effects of the odor can be reduced.

Huy Fong Foods stores and processes a year’s worth of chile sauce at the factory during a three-month period toward the end of the year.

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“Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action,” Irwindale city attorney Fred Galante told Los Angeles Times reporter Frank Shyong.


Huy Fong Foods representatives initially cooperated with Irwindale officials during multiple meetings, but later denied any problem with the chile odor. A judge is slated to make a decision Thursday.

“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 to the city about the smell.

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