Sriracha Plant Partially Shut Down in L.A., Everyone Please Stop Panicking

Categories: Controversy

4268092484_e70b983eb4_z_flickr_sriracha.jpg
Flickr/idovermani
Man, people love their hypothetical shortages. If we're not counting my (shameless plug alert!) awesome cover story on local flour, there are two dueling food stories circling the Internet today: Thanksgiving and its attendant pleasures and stresses, and the court order for Huy Foods to shut down the Irwindale Sriracha plant that's allegedly been giving its neighbors heartburn, nosebleeds, and inflamed asthma -- a move which could, perhaps, lead to less of the spicy red sauce in the future.

The blogosphere has been breathlessly monitoring the status of this plant ever since the complaints about its intense and spicy odor started about a month ago, and the city of Irwindale, near L.A., sued Huy Foods on the basis of these complaints. Now, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ordered the plant to cease the operations causing the malignant odors, and to make changes that will help alleviate them.

However, as the Los Angeles Times notes, "the injunction does not stop the company operating or using the property entirely, or specify the types of actions that are required." And since the cause of the problems is thought to be the grinding of the chilis to make the sauce -- which happens only three months out of the year and is already completed -- no one knows what this ruling means for the hot sauce manufacturer.

Huy Foods is staying mum right now, though chief executive and founder David Tran previously told the LAT that prices would "jump a lot" if the plant were forced to closed. The company moved to Irwindale from Rosemead last year in order to increase production in response to growing demand, and the new facility can produce 200,000 bottles of Sriracha a day. So it's not hard to imagine a shutdown could lead to a shortage or price hike.

But everyone please calm down. A city attorney told the LAT that the judge's goal was not to shut down the plant entirely, and until this mess blows over (literally and figuratively), there's no reason to treat it like the end of the world. Look, I've spent my whole life with a bottle of rooster sauce in my fridge; I like it on eggs and can't imagine pho without it. But a nightmare apocalypse scenario if I didn't have it for six months or a year? Sounds instead like an excellent excuse to pay a visit to Hot Sauce and Panko in the Richmond (300+ bottles in stock) or Hot Heat Sauce Shop in Berkeley (200+ bottles) to explore the wide world of spicy condiments out there.

So don't think about this as a disaster. Consider it a Sriarcha-pportunity.

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11 comments
jmsaltzman
jmsaltzman

Children, there's no "best" hot sauce.  It's idiotic to pick a favorite, doubly so when you claim not to care about others.  I consume more Sriracha than any other because it pairs well with just about anything, but I'd be upset if Cholula, Tapatio, Tabasco, Crystal, Frank's, Melinda's, or any other brand found itself unfairly hassled by NIMBY neighbors.  Let's hope Huy Fong can keep the good stuff flowing no matter where they make their fine products.

David Adams
David Adams

Well moving to San Francisco is out of the question, they shut down bacon restaurants.

Rob Cotton
Rob Cotton

i'm partial to most of gindo's flavors

Hiram Rodriguez
Hiram Rodriguez

Who cares...now if it were the Tapatio plant, I'd be concerned

Alchemy Chef Alchemy
Alchemy Chef Alchemy

Sulphur in the air equates to cancer...humans aren't designed to excrete sulphuric air non stop...go home make your own sauce cry babies!!!!! Rendered burt random chemistry cocktails released in the air is not food for anyone....ever...

Jordan Mandelberg
Jordan Mandelberg

at worst they will just move the plant to a place like Texas, where they can pollute at will and pay their employees with hot sauce...

Rita Wunuvakind Mason
Rita Wunuvakind Mason

Not better.. Just different.. I can think of several hot sauces that taste better on tacos but I can't think of a better hot sauce 2 put on my sammiches. I ❤️rooster sauce! Yummm.. Suddenly I want a sammich n noodles..

Dawne Santopietro
Dawne Santopietro

It's wonderful to have great stuff, but it has to be done safely!

Dan Ginn
Dan Ginn

Overrated and trendy as Pho... Tabasco will always be better.

Rob Cotton
Rob Cotton

that stuff is overrated. there are tons of better hot sauces on the market

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