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California city votes to end Sriracha dispute

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:51 a.m. HST, May 29, 2014

IRWINDALE, Calif. » The fiery fight is apparently over between the makers of a popular hot sauce and a small Southern California city that said its factory's smells were unbearable.

The Irwindale City Council voted Wednesday night to drop a public nuisance declaration and lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods, makers of Sriracha hot sauce. The dual moves brought an effective end to the spicy-air dispute that had Sriracha devotees worried about future sauce shortages and had suitors including the state of Texas offering Huy Fong a friendlier home.

The closed-session council vote was unanimous with one councilman abstaining due to a conflict of interest, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

Residents and business leaders praised the vote that some called overdue.

"Thank you so much for saving Irwindale because we were headed in the wrong direction," Irwindale Fred Barbosa, who lives in Irwindale, told the Tribune after the vote.

Bob Machuca of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said the resolution showed California is "open for business" and is "what we needed to do a long time ago."

The city of about 1,400 people had been at odds with the company, which recently moved its main operations there, after residents complained last year of spicy odors burned their throats and eyes.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the council change its position, but the company had been asking the city for more time as it worked with regional air-quality officials on a plan to make the smell go away.

But city officials met behind closed doors Tuesday with company CEO David Tran and representatives of Gov. Jerry Brown's Business and Economic Development Office. Afterward Mayor Mark Breceda said he would ask the council to end the fight.

"We forged a relationship," City Councilman Julian Miranda said Wednesday night. "Let's keep that going."

Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam whose company produces several chili sauces based on the flavors of his native country, said Tuesday that he installed stronger filters at the plant, and he's confident they will block fumes when the chili-grinding season begins in August.

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st1d wrote:
good save. $60 million dollars in annual sales was about to walk away from irwindale.
on May 28,2014 | 08:34PM
whs1966 wrote:
Why were these hearings not open to the public? Something besides the smell of hot peppers stinks.
on May 29,2014 | 04:42AM
Anonymous wrote:
If I was the owner I would have just moved out.
on May 29,2014 | 06:57AM
ready2go wrote:
Texas seems like a better place to operate a business.
on May 29,2014 | 07:11AM
XML808 wrote:
I think New Mexico would have been a good fit for this company.
on May 29,2014 | 07:58AM
bleedgreen wrote:
I agree either Texas or New Mexico would be a better fit for the chili-sauce company, but because Huy Fong Foods only recently relocated to Irwindale, Tran won't be able recover his capital investment. Probably take a huge financial loss. I just wonder how he was able to obtain a building and business permit since the area appears to be zoned residential. Normally you wouldn't expect to just plunk down a factory without city review and approval.
on May 29,2014 | 09:38AM
localguy wrote:
Reading other sources you find out only four families out of the entire city filed a complaint. Media blew it way out of proportion, people followed like lemmings off a cliff. Only when other states made generous business move options did city bureaucrats get off their o k o l e and work to solve the problem. The same city bureaucrats who originally approved the plants construction, knowing full well what it made.
on May 29,2014 | 07:16AM
uni2012 wrote:
Smart of the city to be friendly with the business who feeds its people. David Tran would've moved his business to Vietnam where production would be cheaper and the government would've rolled out their red carpet to welcome him.
on May 29,2014 | 07:33AM
AhiPoke wrote:
No-brainer decision. With corporations already moving out of California, due to unfriendly business conditions, this would be another disaster.
on May 29,2014 | 08:10AM
lowtone123 wrote:
So can I have my rooster sauce now?
on May 29,2014 | 10:10AM
Anonymous wrote:
They should move. Taxes are terrible and this is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be another attempt by the nanny state to put them out of business. Toyota and Nissan already left. Any business person with any brains would also leave.
on May 29,2014 | 12:54PM
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