IRWINDALE (CBSLA.com) — Sriracha fans may find a court ruling hard to stomach.
An L.A. Superior Court judge has ordered the hot-sauce plant to partially shut down after receiving odor complaints from nearby Irwindale residents.
Huy Fong Foods Inc., the makers of Sriracha, have been ordered to cease operations that could be causing the smells.
The company has not commented on the situation.
It’s not clear whether the partial shutdown will affect the availability of the sauce.
The plant 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 odors are so strong and offensive as to have caused residents to move outdoor activities indoors and even to vacate their residences temporarily to seek relief from the odors,” according to the suit.
Residents allegedly began complaining in September to the city about the chile smell from the 600,000-square-foot facility. The chiles are mashed during a two-month period in the fall, the company said.
Irwindale City Atty. Fred Galante said complaints are still coming in, even though the current harvesting and processing period is over.
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 is not all that bad.
The city staff met with Huy Fong Foods officials Oct. 1 and company representatives said they would “do everything possible to abate the odors.” But on Oct. 16, the city staff was told by a company official during another meeting that no odor problem existed, the suit says.
The next day, the city sent a notice of violation of the Irwindale Municipal Code to Huy Fong Foods and demanded that a strategy be put in place to correct the problem, according to the complaint.
“To date, the city has received no action plan from [Huy] illustrating the steps it will take to address the problem,” the suit says.