TOO SPICY! Sriracha factory in California ordered to shut down due to smells
Neighbors had complained that area had become unlivable
It gives many food a needed kick - but breathing it in day in and day out would be quite a chore. A judge has ordered Sriracha hot sauce manufacturers, Huy Fong Foods, to shut down part of their factory in Irwindale, California. Complaints by neighbors about overwhelming spicy smells had prompted the decision.
Sauce maker Huy Fong Foods must stop any operations that could be causing the odors and make changes to mitigate them, Judge Robert H. O'Brien declared. The judge ruled in favor of the city of Irwindale where Sriracha recently relocated.
The injunction was given in response to a lawsuit filed by the city on Oct. 21. The ruling does not specify what types of actions are required. The ruling also doesn't force the factory to shut down altogether, according to the Los Angeles Times reported.
An argument put forth by the company argued that there is no reason to close the plant as harvest season, coupled with the subsequent grinding of red-hot Jalapeno peppers, the sauce's key ingredient, has passed.
The injunction may not have a major immediate effect on the company's production. There's hope that America's hot sauce needs will not be compromised, with Huy Fong continuing with its year-round mixing and bottling.
The judge noted a "lack of credible evidence" concerning complaints of breathing trouble and watering eyes to the factory. He did admit that the odor that could be "reasonably inferred to be emanating from the facility" is, for residents, "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance."
Irwindale officials welcomed the decision. "We believe it's a strong ruling that acknowledges and is reflective of the concerns that the community has raised about the health impacts of the odor," City Attorney Fred Galante said.
The matter could still go to trial. Galante said the city would like to see a settlement outside court.
Most agree that neither party wants to see the plant shut down altogether. "We're going to try to keep having a conversation with Huy Fong," Galante said, and hopes to find a collaborative way to "make sure the odor problems are addressed."
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