Sriracha Shortage Looms as Judge Orders Shutdown of California Plant

Time to start hoarding: A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ordered a Sriracha plant to partially shutdown in response to a lawsuit filed last month by the city of Irwindale. Judge Robert H. O'Brien said odors emanating from the factory appear to be "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance."

The 655,000-square-foot factory, owned by Huy Fong Foods, will be allowed to continue some operations, but must cease any production that produces the odors, which Irwindale residents claim have caused heartburn, nose bleeds, and inflamed asthma. In his ruling, O'Brien said there was a "lack of credible evidence" between the health concerns and the factory, though the odor alone could be considered a public nuisance.

"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," Irwindale City Attorney Fred Galante told the Los Angeles Times.

Judge O'Brien's ruling could take effect as soon as today.

The factory, which can produce 200,000 bottles of Sriracha per day, will be allowed to reopen if Huy Fong Foods finds a solution to the smells. But such a solution might prove impossible or, at the very least, costly to the average Sriracha fan.

"If it doesn't smell, we can't sell," Huy Fong Foods CEO David Tran told the Los Angeles Times last month. "If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump a lot."

[Image via AP]