The small California town of Irwindale isn't composed of much besides rock quarries and the 655,000-square-foot Huy Fong Foods factory, where the trendy Asian hot sauce Sriracha is produced. You might think Irwindale residents would be excited to have such a famous foodstuff based in their neighborhood, but a new lawsuit suggests at least some of them are sick of the chili odor emanating from the plant and making them feel ill.
The city of Irwindale filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, claiming that the odor was a public nuisance and asking a judge to stop production until the smell can be reduced.
"Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action," [Irwindale City Attorney Fred] Galante said.
Residents say they suffer headaches, sore throats, and burning eyes due to the Sriracha plant, which began production in Irwindale last year after moving operations from Rosemead. According to the lawsuit, Irwindale officials met with Huy Fong Foods in order to try and find an out-of-court solution to the air pollution problem, but they claim Huy Fong eventually denied there was an issue, saying its employees do not suffer from the same bevy of health problems Irwindale citizens allege.
Last week, Quartz reported that Huy Fong now sells about 20 million bottles of its Sriracha hot sauce a year, and all without ever spending a single cent on advertising. The Irwindale lawsuit is asking a judge to halt Sriracha's production until the company can formulate a plan to eradicate its allegedly harmful odor. If that happens, expect anarchy in the streets as "foodies" everywhere slit each other's throats with dainty cheese knives in a battle to hoard as much rooster sauce as possible.