Sriracha hot sauce has become a cult favourite in kitchens across the globe, inspiring specialised cookbooks, memorabilia, and even an upcoming documentary.
Residents of the small city where the hot-sauce production facilities are located don’t seem to be so crazy about it, however.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the city of Irwindale, Calif. filed suit against Huy Fong Foods in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, claiming that the odor wafting from the Sriracha factory is a public nuisance.
Residents are complaining of burning eyes, irritated throats, and headaches they say are caused by the factory’s smell, according to The L.A. Times. About 30 Irwindale residents have filed complaints, the city attorney told the paper.
A judge will decide Thursday whether to follow through with a plan to shut down the plant, which produces about 200,000 bottles of the sauce each day. If approved, the court order is bound to have an effect on how much Sriracha fans will have to pay to get their hands on the beloved hot sauce.
“If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump up a lot,” Huy Fong Foods CEO and founder David Tran said to the L.A. Times.
Huy Fong Foods, the company that manufactures Sriracha, has explored several options for reducing the smell over the past year, including installing two layers of active carbon filters. A consultant reportedly recommended a $US600,000 cleaning system that would burn the pepper smell out of the air, though Huy Fong was hesitant to move forward with that plan.
“Burning the pepper air just didn’t seem safer. Maybe we didn’t move fast enough, but it’s a big business expense and we want to make sure it’s the right investment,” Adam Holliday, director of operations for the company, told the L.A. Times.
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