A judge ordered the partial shutdown of the Huy Fong Foods Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale on Tuesday after the city sued the company last month, claiming the chile odors from the plant are a public nuisance.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert H. O’Brien ruled that Huy Fong Foods needs to stop any type of production that may cause chile odors. The company is required to take immediate action to alter its production to lessen the odors.
The ruling could take effect as early as Wednesday, or as soon as the judge signs the injunction.
The Sriracha plant is already done processing the chile it will need for next year’s supply of hot sauce. The processing takes place during a three-month period, but bottling and mixing can take place year round.
Since the injunction did not specify exactly which actions or areas of the plant need to stop production beyond those responsible for the odors, the fate of next year’s Sriracha supply is yet to be determined.
The city of Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods in October after numerous residents complained of sore throats, nosebleeds, burning eyes and other health conditions that they claim were caused by the chile odor from the plant.
O’Brien was scheduled to make a ruling on Friday but said he lacked adequate information regarding necessary air-quality control reports from South Coast Air Quality Management District, which was supposed to collect data at the Irwindale plant.
The city is pleased with the ruling, but insists the focus of the suit is not to simply stop production.
“We’re going to try to keep having a conversation with Huy Fong and working out some collaborative way to test and make sure the odor problems are addressed,” City Atty. Fred Galante told The Times’ Frank Shyong.
Want more Sriracha news? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_