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Irwindale City Council Postpones Decision On Possible Sriracha Plant Closure

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IRWINDALE (CBSLA.com) — There has been a lot of heated debate, but no decision yet on what to do about the malodorous Sriracha plant in Irwindale.

The discussion at Wednesday night’s Irwindale City Council meeting resulted in delaying the decision of whether or not to close the Huy Fong Foods Inc. facility, which some say has become a public nuisance.

KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii reports after two hours of testimony the council voted to postpone the hearing until April, giving the company some more time to implement recommendations from the  South Coast Air Quality Management District following complaints odors from peppers were causing local residents to suffer from  headaches, nose bleeds and other respiratory problems.

The complaints led the city to take civil action against the sauce maker. In November, a judge ordered the plant to mitigate the problem.

Since then, the city has expanded its lawsuit. City Development Manager Gus Romo charged Wednesday that despite continued complaints, Huy Fong Foods has not fixed the problem.

“What the city was expecting is a short-term and long-term solution – a written plan of action,” Romo told council members.

But Huy Fong Foods owner David Tran, who started the company in 1980, said executives are working the AQMD and have installed already additional filters.

“What we need to do, we will do it,” Tran said.

The AQMD data indicates most of their 61 complains have come from four households. Some argue that the odors affect their health.

“It is irritating my family and my household. And I do have doctor documents for it,” local resident Dina Zepeda told council members.

The plant is meanwhile getting support from dozens of food employees – some of whom picketed outside Wednesday’s meeting – hoping they don’t lose their jobs.

“I don’t know what I would do,” one protestor said.

Huy Fong Foods employs up to 200 people in Irwindale. A spokesperson said waiting until April will give executives enough time to implement AQMD recommendations.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Irwindale Sriracha Plant

(©2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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