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California city's bid to close Sriracha plant denied

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:54 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2013

LOS ANGELES » A judge has denied a Southern California factory town's attempt to shut down production of the popular Sriracha chili sauce over complaints about the pungent smell of pepper and garlic fumes emanating from the factory.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien rejected the city of Irwindale's initial bid today to cease operations at the Huy Fong Foods plant until the company can reduce the odor, City News Service reported.

"You're asking for a very radical order on 24-hour notice," O'Brien told attorney June Ailin, representing the city.

A Nov. 22 hearing was scheduled on a preliminary injunction.

The sprawling 650,000-square-foot factory processes some 100 million pounds of peppers a year into Sriracha and two other popular Asian food sauces.

The peppers get washed, mixed with garlic and a few other ingredients and roasted during this time of the year, when jalapeno peppers are harvested in central California and trucked to the 2-year-old plant. The pungent smell of peppers and garlic fumes is sent through a carbon-based filtration system that dissipates them before they leave the building, but not nearly enough say residents.

They complained the odor gives them headaches, burns their throat and makes their eyes water.

Huy Fong executives said they were cooperating with the city to reduce the smell, but balked at the city's suggestion of putting in a new, $600,000 filtration system that may not be necessary.

The company said it was looking into other alternatives when the city sued.

Sriracha's little plastic squeeze bottles with their distinctive green caps are ubiquitous in restaurants and home pantries around the world.

Company founder David Tran said his privately held business took in about $85 million last year.

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cojef wrote:
Somebody may get his hands greased, but this will not go away. Stench of whatever source is still stench and citizens complaints may be heeded. Spending $600,000 for business grossing $85 Million$ is doable if it can guarantee no stench whatsoever.
on October 31,2013 | 08:23AM
localguy wrote:
Complaining residents failed to provide any shred of scientific proof there is a problem. No air monitoring, no complaint. California has way, way too many bureaucratic conditions for business, similar to the Nei. Business can always cross the border to Nevada where they would love to have them, no air quality issues.
on October 31,2013 | 08:30AM
localguy wrote:
Before the plant was approved for construction, it had to pass all of the states strict environmental and business laws, which it did. If residents have a problem, go after those who approved it. Story sounds a little fishy. I think the residents found an ambulance chasing attorney and are now trying to extort money from the company. Just because the company took in $85 million does not mean all that is profit. Rookie posters fail to understand how business income is derived. By the time you subtract business operational costs, taxes, salaries, insurance, workman's comp, pensions, on and on, profit may be under a few million, if that.
on October 31,2013 | 08:39AM
loquaciousone wrote:
This sounds like a hot button issue and something stinks here.
on October 31,2013 | 09:10AM
Anonymous wrote:
I don't see any ambulance chasing. There is a $600K solution. If they can't spend $600,000 to respect their neighbors when they're raking in $85M in sales, they deserve to get the boot.
on October 31,2013 | 09:23AM
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