A Close Call With The Beloved Sriracha

More than anything else, the lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods proves just how important it is for manufacturers to find a municipality that is not only happy to have a business, but will fight for its existence. I feel that too few companies fully take advantage of that dynamic.

Mnet 132693 Sriracha Lead 0

Maybe “goodbye” is a little early, but when it comes to loved ones, it’s never too soon.

Last Wednesday night, I heard, to my dismay, that the sole manufacturing facility for Sriracha hot sauce, located in Irwindale, Calif., may be shuttered. According to the city, allegations of burning eyes and throats have been rolling in — 30 or so in all, according to the Los Angeles Times — and it’s become enough for the city to declare the plant a “public nuisance” in violation of local ordinances regarding untoward odors.

The city has since lost their “radical” case, using verbiage from Judge Robert H. O’Brien, but says it will continue to pursue the case in other ways. More on that in a bit.

For fans of the spicy sauce — and there are many of us — the threat against Sriracha is tantamount to a disaster. Some have predicted a black market forming around the bottles still in circulation, while others, including the company’s owner, David Tran, have said its price is likely to rise. And it just may start a run on grocery stores. I know I considered it. Simply put, it’s hard to imagine just about any Asian-style food without it. Not to mention pizza, or eggs, or well, pretty much half the food I eat.

I know. It’s a problem.

Finding facts on the case, at this point in time, is pretty much impossible. All we have is one side, the city, who claims that there have been numerous complaints of noxious, burning fumes and generally bad smells, and Tran, who has said the plant already features numerous exhaust filtering systems, installed after previous concerns. The local newspapers seem to have no trouble finding those nearby who are not affected by the plant’s exhaust, nor are they concerned by it.

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