Heated Sriracha Debate in California Will Simmer Until April

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Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/

The saucy debate over Sriracha in California will have to cool down until April. Huy Fong Foods, the manufacturer of the hot sauce, has until then to work with the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to resolve odor and air quality issues arising from its plant in Irwindale. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that at a meeting, the Irwindale City Council voted unanimously to decide whether the factory was a public nuisance at its first meeting in April.

The sauce saga dates back to 2013, when Irwindale residents began to speak out, claiming the odors produced by the plant were impacting their health. The Los Angeles Times says that residents complained of heartburn, asthma, and nosebleeds. The city took Huy Fong Foods to court, where a Superior Court judge ordered a partial closure of the factory. Residents said the air quality was being affected by the plant’s chili grinding in the process of making the hot sauce. The factory did not have to cease all production, and the judge was specific as to what Huy Fong Foods needed to do.

A week later, Huy Fong Foods hung a banner outside the factory reading “No tear gas made here.” Leading up to the hearing, the Los Angeles Times reports that Huy Fong Foods opened its doors to the public. The act of transparency was meant to show that the plant poses no health danger. According to Sam Atwood, an AQMD spokesman, 18 households had complained about the spicy aroma, and of of the 61 complaints, 41 had been filed by four households.

Huy Fong Foods called on its consumer base to attend Wednesday’s City Council hearing to defend Sriracha. If in the future the plant is deemed a public nuisance, it will have to comply with demands made by the city to fix the scent within a certain timeframe.

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