Just when you thought your Sriracha was safe…
On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered a partial shutdown of the Irwindale, California, Sriracha plant after determining that the spicy odors emanating from the factory were "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses" and warranted "consideration as a public nuisance."
Irwindale residents filed a lawsuit last month claiming that the factory had become a health hazard, causing nose bleeds, heartburn, and exacerbating asthma symptoms. Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled that while there is still no credible evidence behind these claims, the odor was enough to force a shutdown.
Under the current injunction, the 655,000-square-foot factory, owned by Huy Fong Foods, can remain in operation, but must immediately discontinue any activities that may produce the offending odors. "We believe it's a strong ruling that acknowledges and is reflective of the concerns that the community has raised about the health impacts of the odor," City Attorney Fred Galante told the Los Angeles Times.
What does this mean for your kitchen's supply of hot sauce? The looming threat to the sriracha supply recently prompted consumers to start hording the "hipster ketchup." But the factory has already harvested and ground this year's supply of chilies, and the process of bottling and mixing the sauce is ongoing. Galante is unsure how this aspect of production will be affected but says that the city's goal is not to have the factory shut down. "We're going to try to keep having a conversation with Huy Fong and working out some collaborative way to test and make sure the oHuy dor problems are addressed," he said.
Huy Fong Foods has yet to comment on these latest developments.