Morgana Matus

Fumes From Sriracha Plant Burn Eyes, Noses and Throats in Irwindale, California

by , 10/30/13
filed under: Air quality, News

sriracha, huy fong foods, irwindale, hot sauce, david tran

If you are one of the millions of fans who accompany every meal with a bottle of Sriracha, now may be the time to stock up on the flaming hot condiment. The city of Irwindale, California is suing the Huy Fong Foods plant after they received a number of complaints from neighbors that the odor of chilies emanating from the plant burns their eyes, noses, and throats. If the suit goes through the factory could be shut down until the company finds a solution to their unique air pollution problems.


sriracha, huy fong foods, irwindale, hot sauce, david tran

Huy Fong founder David Tran moved his production facilities from Rosemead to Irwindale after the demand for his mix of jalapeno peppers, garlic, salt, sugar, and vinegar skyrocketed. The new $40 million plant tripled their capacity and made it possible for the privately-owned business to rake in about $60 million in sales last year. The company has brought 60 full-time jobs and 200 seasonal positions to the city of 1,400 people and complies with all air quality regulations.

City officials met with the company early this month to discuss solutions. Huy Fong Foods was not happy with the idea of installing a $600,000 filtration system, and while they were further negotiating, the city sued for the plant to shut down operations. The case will go to court this Thursday.

Irwindale is no stranger to industrial air pollution. They are home to a dog food manufacturer and the MillerCoors brewery, both of which produce offensive odors. While some neighbors enjoy the odor of chilies during the height of the harvest season from August to Early November, the city has received nearly a dozen complaints this month from those who don’t. Likening the experience to pepper spray, many residents avoid going outdoors and keep their children and pets inside.

As Irwindale and Huy Fong Foods work towards a compromise, do not be surprised to see hot sauce junkies rushing to supermarkets for a hit of their favorite searing sauce.

+ Huy Fong Foods

Via The Los Angeles Times Yahoo News

Images via Flickr users tedeytan and idvoermani

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5 Comments

  1. SRBChristian November 1, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Few quick notes:

    1) The plant’s operations are not being shut down at all while the complaints and lawsuit are carried out
    2) Officials have gone out twice following complaints and have taken readings at those times only to find nothing wrong or of note
    3) Nearly a dozen complaints, as stated within this blog does not make for a major catastrophe, sounds more like nay-sayers or possible NIMBYs

  2. dee r October 31, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    First off, when the plant was built last year, it had air filters built in. The California Air Quality Management Board has already determined that it can’t detect any TOXIC fumes in the air. The hearing will take place after the chilies are processed in November.

    Secondly, with the amount of money that the plant contributes to the tax base in Irwindale, it will hurt the city more than moving out will hurt Huy Fong. Moving will be cheaper than adding even more filters or PAYING OFF THE COMPLAINERS, which is what I suspect is really the behind this. A dozen complaints? Please.

  3. rktrix October 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    You know, if you have to sell the stuff in glass because it melts plastic, you have to realize it’s caustic. And caustic chemicals deserve special handling. It just makes sense.

    I live near a coffee roastery. Sometimes it smells burned, but it doesn’t hurt me to smell it. Now, if it were a laundry soap manufacturing plant, I’d be in full asthma arrest most of the time!

  4. Stacey Cruisedivanj October 31, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Oh No! Time to stock up!

  5. holiholi October 30, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Sounds like California is making another money mistake. Closing down a company that offers revenue fully, without compromise will burden those employed by the company. Truth be told is can they be sure it’s only this company polluting the area? After all we are talking about California another Boarder state, when I lived there they bragged about 3 eyed fish. Foolish another kick to the fail US economy

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