Sriracha Plant Faces Fresh Shutdown Effort Over Odor Complaints
IRWINDALE (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge was expected Friday to rule on whether to grant a request to temporarily shut down an Irwindale chili sauce factory over complaints from local residents.
KNX 1070′s Claudia Peschiutta reports production of the popular Sriracha sauce is the focus of a lawsuit filed by the city of Irwindale, which claims the odor produced by the plant has caused neighbors to suffer watery eyes, headaches and throat irritation.
The lawsuit asked a judge to stop production until the company submits a plan of action to reduce the smell, but a judge denied the city’s request on Oct. 31.
The complaint filed against Huy Fong Foods Inc, sought temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctions “enjoining all operations on … the subject property until (Huy) abates the public nuisance herein by preventing and causing the emanation of the strong, offensive chili odor.”
According to the complaint, residents began complaining in September to the city about the chili smell from the 600,000-square-foot facility. The chilies are mashed during a two-month period in the fall, the company said.
Irwindale City Attorney Fred Galante said complaints are still coming in, even though the current harvesting and processing period is over.
“People can also cannot generally enjoy the outdoors while the smell is particularly strong because it is so irritating,” Galante said.
The effort to shut down the plant spurred Sriracha supporters like liquor store owner Young Ja Whang and Irwindale Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Bailey to defend Huy Fong Foods, arguing in sworn statements that the aroma of peppers emanating from the plant at 4800 Azusa Canyon Road are not all that bad.
A company attorney did not immediately respond to a KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO request for comment.
According to court records obtained by the Los Angeles Times, at least 18 households in Irwindale have filed complaints with the city.
After meeting with Huy Fong Foods officials and company representatives on Oct. 1, city officials said they would “do everything possible to abate the odors.” But on Oct. 16, the city staff was told by a company official that no odor problem existed, according to court documents.
In addition to the request for a preliminary injunction, the city is also seeking a permanent injunction from the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Times reported.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)