The city of Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods in October, alleging that the odor from the pepper processing in the plant was not just unpleasant but was resulting in stinging eyes, heartburn, maybe even nosebleeds, for some in the area.
The company avoided the initial shutdown request when the judge ruled that the town’s call for an immediate injunction against the plant was too last-minute.
But yesterday, the judge ordered Huy Fong to stop those parts of its operation that result in the release of the stinky fumes. All other operations at the plant may continue.
While the judge wrote that there is a “lack of credible evidence” showing that the plant fumes are actually causing the claimed maladies suffered by area residents, he nonetheless found that the odors appear to be “extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance.”
The partial shutdown is not the final legal word, but a preliminary action. However, the judge noted that the city is “likely to prevail” in declaring the odor a public nuisance.
It’s believed that the primary source of the bad smells is the processing of the chili peppers for each year’s batch of sauce. That process only takes place during a three-month period that recently ended. If that is the cause of the offending odor, then the plant may be able to continue its bottling of the sauce, meaning there is no immediate need for sriracha fans to start hoarding.