Sriracha Makers Mull Factory Move Over Odor Ordeal

Days after being declared a smelly “public nuisance” by the California town it calls home, Huy Fong Foods — makers of the spicy Sriracha sauce loved by many a person — may be packing up its peppers and moving.

The L.A. Times reports that Huy Fong owner David Tran has invited the various politicians and business leaders from around the country who have said they would welcome the factory to come check out the Irwindale, CA, facility to see first-hand if they believe the odors would present a problem.

Huy Fong has been locked in a battle with the Irwindale town council for months over claims that the factory releases fumes into the neighborhood that smell bad and cause some people to experience eye irritation.

The town has already filed a lawsuit over the issue, but that won’t come to trial until next fall at the earliest.

The plant was temporarily shut down last November, but resumed production in January. The recent public nuisance declaration by the town council will give the company a 90-day period in which to further mitigate the odor issue.

Tran says he is not dead set on moving, but that he has to consider it because he feels the council is unlikely to accept any proposal he makes and that some residents will continue to complain regardless of mitigation efforts.

“[City officials] tell you one thing, but think another,” Tran explained. “I don’t want to sit here and wait to die.”

While places as far away as Philadelphia have offered to give Huy Fong a new home, the biggest problem isn’t setting up a new factory; it’s the distance to the peppers that are the core of the product.

Huy Fong uses peppers from a single nearby source and puts them through the grinder on the same day they are harvested. Relocating would mean finding a new grower. It would also mean that anywhere between 60 to 200 employees would need to be replaced or relocated.

“I have had the bad luck to move into a city with a government that acts like a local king,” Tran said.

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