The Great Sriracha Panic is finally over as Irwindale dismisses its lawsuit


Sriracha hot chilli sauce being made at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

After a struggle that rocked the nation to its very condiment-based core, the Sriracha saga has come to a close. The Sriracha plant in California — which was the subject of an ongoing dispute — will stay open.

Citizens in Irwindale, Calif., had a problem with the strong odor coming out of the factory, saying that it caused burning eyes and throats. The city filed a lawsuit calling the smell a public nuisance. Panic ensued, with Sriracha fans worrying that the factory would close, depriving people of the red chili sauce that comes in the bottle labeled with a rooster. David Tran, creator of the sauce and founder of Huy Fong Foods (which produces it), publicly talked about moving the factory and met with officials from other areas.

The ordeal came to a close Wednesday (for now, anyway), when the Irwindale City Council said it would dismiss the lawsuit because Huy Fong planned to address the odor issue. Tran met with city officials Tuesday and said he has strengthened the filter in the plant’s rooftop ventilation system.

Of course, it won’t be clear if the changes actually helped until the company starts grinding chiles again in August. “You need to have the chili grinding and then you know whether it’s working or not,” Tran said, according to the Pasadena Star-News. But Tran says his company will change the system again if the odor is still present.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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