Sriracha battle: Ex-councilman ‘surprised’ at move to close plant

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.


A former Irwindale city councilman says he’s surprised the city has gone after the maker of Sriracha hot sauce so aggressively over complaints that odors from the plant are irritating some residents.

Irwindale City Atty. Fred Galante said that the city has received complaints from a variety of residents, including people suffering from asthma and parents whose children cannot play outside because of the smell. The city has received approximately 20 to 30 smell complaints, Galante said.

But former councilman Sal Hernandez, 75, who lives on Azusa Canyon Road just a few houses from the Huy Fong plant, said he has never noticed a smell.


PHOTOS: Sriracha factory production

“It hasn’t bothered me yet. I haven’t had any effects from it, and I’m right next door to it,” Hernandez said.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Thursday denied the city of Irwindale’s request for a temporary restraining order against the production plant, instead setting a hearing for Nov. 22 to determine whether the hot sauce factory should be shut down while it fixes alleged odor problems.

The judge’s ruling means that Sriracha can finish processing peppers for next year’s hot sauce supply. There is just over a week left in the chile harvest and processing period.

Hernandez, a former reserve police officer who has lived in the city for more than 30 years, said few people go before the council to complain about the smell from other factories in town -- like the huge MillerCoors Brewery or a dog food manufacturer on Arrow Highway.

“Things we should go to court for we don’t, and for this thing, we’re taking [the Sriracha company] to court,” he said. “I’m surprised. They were praising this thing before they even came in. Everyone was praising it.”


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Twitter: @frankshyong