The California Factory Making Sriracha, The Chilli Sauce Foodies Love, Is Facing Closure Over Its Smell

Sriracha sauce has been a hit in international foodie circles in recent years. Photo Scott Olson/Getty

Sriracha, the American-made, Thai-style chilli sauce that became a global phenomenon, loved by chefs and foodies everywhere, is an endangered species after the council in the California city where it’s made declared the factory a “public nuisance” last week.

Huy Fong Foods, owners of the factory in Irwindale, California, will have 90 days to fix the ordour problems which have residents and the council up in arms, or face possible closure.

This latest setback for “Rooster sauce”, as it’s known from the logo, is part of an ongoing battle against the sauce makers by California officials and local residents.

Late last year, a court ordered the factory close briefly following odour complaints from neighbouring residents.

Then health officials intervened to insist that the raw sauce, jalapeno chillies, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar, could not be shipped fresh and must be held for 30 days to test for bacteria.

Fears of a shortage led to the hashtag #srirachapocalypse on Twitter.

The sauce was first made by Vietnamese refugee David Tran in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in 1980 and he’s since built a global empire out it, opening a 10-hectare $40 million factory in 2010 to cope with demand. Its success has also begun to spawn a number of imitators.

Huy Fong Foods has been working with air quality officials to test for odours over the last several weeks, so the council decision has seen as a hostile response to their efforts.

The company is in a race to fix the problem before the chilli grinding season – the peak time for concerns about the smell – begins in August.

The Pasadena Star News has the details of the council decision, including the fact that the majority of the complaints came from four households.

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