Hot Sauce Makers Fight to Continue Producing Sriracha

Hot Sauce Makers Fight to Continue Producing Sriracha

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Huy Fong Foods, Inc., producer of Sriracha, one of the most popular hot sauces in the US, is fighting the City of Irwindale for its right to continue producing its internationally celebrated chili sauce. Both sides were present at a public hearing Wednesday night.

In two hours of the public hearing, almost all of the comments were in support of the hot sauce company.  Ultimately, the whole matter was continued until April 1st.

"The City of Irwindale is trying to shut us down," said Donna Lam, Huy Fong Executive Operations Officer. "We're fighting for our jobs, our livelihoods and the business we built from the bottom up."

The battle between the City of Irwindale and Huy Fong Foods began in late 2012 when the city received a complaint about a strong chili smell coming from the plant, which employs over 80 workers.

Huy Fong has been working with South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), a regulatory agency overseeing air quality control in the region, to determine the nature and extent of the problem and take the appropriate measures to remediate. As an initial step, in 2013 the company installed additional filters for air access points to help improve external air quality.

"People say that it's not Sriracha that smells in Irwindale; it's the City government," said Huy Fong CEO and Founder, David Tran. "We've been working with AQMD since late last year to see what the problem is. We've proposed a plan to immediately fix any problems once we know what steps need to be taken based on AQMD's analysis. Yet the City refuses to await those results and is proceeding with the hearing before Huy Fong can act on them."

 the City Council could vote to shut down the business. "This hearing is premature," added Lam. "We need to determine what the issue is first before we can solve the problem. We implore our supporters to join in the fight tomorrow at Irwindale Council Chambers to save our Sriracha."

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