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Lawmakers Drop Bill Declaring Sriracha Maker a Public Nuisance

May 29, 2014

Lawmakers in Irwindale, California dismissed on Wednesday a bill that would have deemed the company behind Sriracha hot sauce a public nuisance. Three Irwindale City Council members and Mayor Mark Breceda unanimously voted to drop the legislation targeting Huy Fong Foods, Reuters reports.

"We have to keep employment in Irwindale. We have to expand. It's good for Irwindale. It's good for California," Breceda said. The factory employs 70 full-time workers, 200 seasonal workers, and pumps out over 20 million bottles of the popular hot sauce every year. Sriracha is made from ground fresh chilis; the factory then uses exhaust fans to suck out the spicy air, filter it through pipes, and expel it through the roof.

Residents of the Los Angeles suburb have long complained about the pungent fumes emerging from the factory, citing headaches and irritated eyes, throats and noses. One resident likened the odor to "pepper spray." Had the bill passed, Irwindale could have acted on its own to dispel the fumes, with Huy Fong Foods taking on the costs.

"If it doesn't smell, it doesn't sell," said David Tran, founder and CEO of Huy Fong Foods, in October.

[Reuters]

Photos: An Inside Look at a Sriracha Factory

Chilies are ground in a mixing machine.
VIEW GALLERY | 10 PHOTOS
Jalapeno peppers, grown in nearby Ventura County, are crushed inside the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif.Peter Bohler for TIME
Chilies are ground in a mixing machine.
Lids for Sriracha bottles flow into a large container.
The bottles for Sriracha are made and printed on site. Here, new bottles come off the conveyer belt.
A forklift moves barrels of chili around the warehouse where they are stored until needed for processing into Sriracha, Chili Garlic and Sambal Olek—ground chilis with no added ingredients.
Uncapped barrels of chili are pumped into the mixing room.
Sugar and powdered garlic are added to the mixture, which is ground again into Sriracha.
Bottles of Sriracha being filled. When CEO and founder David Tran started making chili sauce in Vietnam, he and his family hand-filled bottles with spoons.
Filled and capped bottles of Sriracha come off the assembly line and are organized for boxing.
A machine boxes Sriracha for shipping.
A worker adds steel supports to a pallet of barrels. The supports allow Huy Fong to stack the barrels on top of each other without the weight of the chili crushing the barrels.
Jalapeno peppers, grown in nearby Ventura County, are crushed inside the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif.
Peter Bohler for TIME
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