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Food Politics

Sriracha Factory in Irwindale to Remain Open

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Thu, May 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM
click image Sriracha inside the Irwindale factory - COLIN YOUNG-WOLFF
  • Colin Young-Wolff
  • Sriracha inside the Irwindale factory
Irwindale, you just dodged a flaming hot bullet that would have solidified your status as the lamest city in America. The Irwindale City Council has finally thrown out a nuisance lawsuit that threatened to shutter the Sriracha plant within its city limits, allowing the hot-sauce manufacturer to remain open. 

Huy Fong Foods, maker of the iconic chile sauce, has battled the City of Irwindale for months to keep its factory running. Residents complained that fumes from the plant were making them sick. The standoff created panic and hoarding among fans of the hot sauce with the rooster on the bottle and the cute green cap.

On Wednesday, May 28, city officials dismissed a lawsuit over the fumes filed by the city itself against Huy Fong in October, and dropped its declaration of the factory as a public nuisance, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The move came in response to Huy Fong CEO David Tran making modifications to the factory's ventilation system and giving written assurances to the city that the company was addressing residents' complaints about jalapeño pepper and garlic odors.

"We forged a relationship. Let's keep that going," City Councilman Julian Miranda said Wednesday, the Tribune reported. The reprieve came just in time, as Texas politicians had visited the factory in an effort to lure the company to the Lone Star wtate.

Irwindale residents complained about fumes from the factory during the chile-grinding season basically pepper-spraying the populace, burning their eyes and throats and forcing them to stay indoors. (People live in beautiful downtown Irwindale? Apparently so - 1,422 whiners, according to the 2010 Census.)

Tran said he recently installed stronger filters on the factory's rooftop air-filtration system, testing them with pepper spray. However, it's too soon to tell how well the new system will work, since chile grinding won't start until August.

"At the commencement of this year's chile harvest season, if the air-filtration system does not perform well, then Huy Fong Foods will make the necessary changes in order to better the system right away," Tran wrote in a letter to the council.

Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda met with Tran on Tuesday morning and subsequently asked the council to dismiss the public nuisance order, which it had approved unanimously just last month, according to the Tribune.

Ironically, spicy Sriracha is the only thing that makes Irwindale cool. Otherwise, the San Gabriel Valley city is nothing more than a hellish warren and white-trash mecca of rock quarries, the Miller Beer brewing plant, a speedway and the annual Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire. So we lift our goblet of crap brew and say a hearty Huzzah! to you, Huy Fong. Well played, sir!


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