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Fate of next year’s Sriracha supply to be decided by experts

Following a Los Angeles County Superior Court order that asked for a partial shutdown at the Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale, air quality experts will be called in to decide what parts of the operations must cease, a decision that could affect next year’s sauce supply.

Huy Fong Foods has already ground all the chili for next year’s supply of Sriracha hot sauce, but the sauce must still be mixed, poured, bottled and boxed.

Irwindale City Atty. Fred Galante said that he does not want to speculate whether the injunction will affect next year’s supply. Both the city and the factory have retained separate air quality consultants, and Galante says he hopes that they will collaboratively decide which parts of the operation must be shut down.

“We have to rely on the experts to determine which parts of the operations have the potential to cause odors,” Galante said.

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After the chilis are ground, they are stored in large blue drums that are kept on site. The factory opens the drums when more sauce needs to be mixed and bottled. The factory turns out 200,000 bottles of hot sauce a day and sold $60 million worth of sauce in 2012. 

Huy Fong officials reached Wednesday did not comment specifically on Tuesday’s ruling, and did not elaborate on whether they would be able to continue operations. CEO David Tran released a statement thanking the fans of the hot sauce for their support. 

The statement was largely identical to a previous statement released to The Times, except for a response to residents claiming that the odor emanating from the factory was similar to that of capsaicin, an active ingredient in pepper spray.

“We don’t make tear gas here,” Tran wrote.

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