A Sriracha hot sauce factory in Irwindale may be ordered to halt production this week amid accusations from the city that powerful odors emanating from the facility are causing burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches among nearby residents.
The city is asking a judge to stop production at the hot sauce factory until the company submits a plan of action for mitigating the irritating odors, Irwindale City Atty. Fred Galante said.
“If they fix it and the odor problems stop, we don’t need this order; but so far the odor complaints continue,” said Galante, who said about 30 residents have filed or signed complaints with the city about the odors.
The smell is so aggressive that one family was forced to move a birthday party indoors after the odor descended on the festivities, Galante said.
The city filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, claiming that the odor was a public nuisance and asking a judge to stop production until the smell can be reduced.
“Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action,” Galante said.
A judge is scheduled to decide whether to grant the order Thursday, he added.
The legal action comes after repeated visits between Irwindale officials and representatives from Huy Fong Foods to discuss methods of reducing the odors, according to the lawsuit.
Huy Fong representatives cooperated at first, but later denied there was an odor problem, saying their employees worked in similar olfactory settings without complaint, Galante said.
The price of Sriracha may jump if a court orders the hot sauce factory to halt production over a dispute with the city of Irwindale, the company's chief executive said.
"If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump up a lot," said CEO and founder David Tran of Huy Fong Foods, which makes the hot sauce.
Tran said the company is packing about 200,000 bottles of sauce a day. Every bottle produced is already sold and the company is struggling to meet demand.