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The Sriracha hot sauce factory has been forced to shut down (for now)

(Image: AP Photo/Nick Ut)

(Image: AP Photo/Nick Ut)

It’s a dark day for chiliheads: after weeks of uncertainty, a Los Angeles county judge has ordered Huy Fong Foods, the company that makes Sriracha, to cease all odour-producing operations. The order comes after residents of Irwindale, the city where the sauce is made, filed a lawsuit claiming that noxious chili fumes were causing migraines, heartburn and involuntary crying, and basically making it miserable to be outdoors. Judge Robert O’Brien called the factory’s fumes “extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses” and urged the company to “make changes immediately in its site operations reducing odours and the potential for odours.”

It’s not entirely clear what the order means in the short-term for Huy Fong, which finished grinding up chilis for next year’s hot-sauce supply earlier in the month and has now moved on to the potentially less smelly mixing and bottling stages. In the long term, the company is facing an end-of-days scenario if it can’t reign in its fumes. Part of the problem seems to be the mysterious nature of the chili vapours, which are apparently strong enough to cause bloody noses miles away, but gentle enough to have zero effect on visiting CNN reporters who held their faces directly above the factory’s air vents. The lawsuit goes to trial in a few months; in the meantime, hot sauce lovers may want to consider stocking up. [Los Angeles Times]

  • David Church

    Ironically, Irwindale actually gave tax incentives to Huy Fong Foods to induce them to move their factory from the original location in a nearby town.

  • Fernando


  • Jules Oille

    Have you ever heard of a bong? Have you ever heard of air filtration? What are we missing in this story?

  • jumbybird

    Too bad it’s a new factory, or they could move out of this POS town.

  • Chantal

    My OH will cry, he eats this stuff like ketchup on everything, even eggos with syrup

  • Kluyasufoya

    I think everyone cares more about the sauce than the people of that town.

  • Gordon

    hmm. lets consider this nonsense. Chili…basically pepperspray….ZERO effect at the source, ZERO effect sticking your face right over the vents…. But 5 miles away, messes you up. yeah. Not remotely possible. Just more american stupidity and nonsense lawsuits. They should be shot.

  • Rob Galbraith

    Y’know… You hit the nail on the head, Jules. There is something going on we’re not aware of in this story. Why would you invite a hot sauce factory to your town, and then be surprized when your town smells like fumes and chili?

    The reporter saying they didn’t have issues when they went into the factory also makes me wonder what is not being said.

  • Shankovich

    Nothing carbon based filters can’t handle, something I’m sure factory engineers can do. There’s obviously more at play here…foul play.

  • Elvis Ma

    Price gouging plan in effect? Lower the supply just for for a while and artificially raise the price. Next when the court dates are over and normal production resumes, the sauce stays at the same higher price.

    I don’t eat this stuff anyway.

  • Facepalm

    Bloody NIMBYs.

  • Kordic

    The people of the town don’t make food taste better.

  • Reality

    The court needs to conduct an actual study to determine when, where, and who is being affected, not just assume that people symptoms must be due to the sriracha plant. And it’s already too late to bolster that assumption based on the outcome of the plant being halted; they’ve already published that it has been done, and so if someone sees a chance reduction in their symptoms, they will immediately assume the two are correlated… this is such a stupid case.

  • SLG

    Stupid local town council! Let’s lobby the Province to offer to move it to Leamington Ontario! Think of the tourism potential, we could do factory tours complete with free gas masks for the kids! What about cross-marketing? Sriracha flavoured Ice-Wine! Sriracha Maple Syrup!

  • heirloomtomato

    I don’t. Just buy Shark brand sriracha. Duh. It doesn’t have the grody potassium sorbate and stuff in it either. Hello? I don’t understand why people seem to be unaware of the fact that sriracha is easy to make and that there are many brands to choose from. The Huy Fong company is low on the totem pole as far as quality is concerned.

  • heirloomtomato

    Or just buy one of the other brands: Shark, Polar, Dragonfly, Sriraja Panach, Thai Kitchen, Lee Kum Kee, Trader Joes, Kikkoman, etc etc.

    Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, you MIGHT like the Thai chili sauces that are actually made in THAILAND better than one made in California. Cough ahem.

  • Think Floyd

    Sure but lets consider it nonsense based on facts and not generalization though. The article states that they are done with the process of grinding the peppers for this years production run and now they are in the “less smelly mixing and bottling stages”. Why don’t you go stick your head in the vents when they are crushing peppers and then come back and tell us that there is nothing to complain about.

  • Think Floyd

    The article also states that they are done with the process of grinding the
    peppers for this years production run and now they are in the “less
    smelly mixing and bottling stages”. Do you honestly believe that the company would let a reporter up around their vents when the nasty aromas are flowing freely?? A reporter says it and you take it at face value and suspect 2300 people are lying. Is there even a single brain cell in this comments section???

  • Think Floyd

    Watch the CNN video. They already have carbon filters.

  • Think Floyd

    So you’ve been to Irwindale and know first hand that there is nothing abnormal in the air? No? So then your buying whatever crap CNN publishes unquestioned? Bloody sheep.

  • Think Floyd

    Oh I’m pretty sure their money doesn’t smell. lol

  • charper1

    your arrogance is so foolish if you think just because something is made in one place versus another that its better or worse..

  • Rob Galbraith

    Apparently “Floyd” they went the same place your manners went. Maybe under that bridge where all the other trolls hang out.

    The answer to your question is, no, I would not expect them to jeopardize the life of a reporter by taking them up near vents while they are operational. And yes, I do take what the reporter says at face value because the reporter has nothing to gain.

  • ACEE

    What?? OF COURSE something being made in one place versus another can make it better or worse!!! The ingredients are different, even the same ingredients can taste different depending on the soil and weather where certain crops are grown….

  • llill

    Do you eat sushi? Apparently some spicy mayos use this sauce.

  • coolspot

    MacDonalds seem to taste the same everywhere around the world. Or Coca Cola for the most part.

  • Think Floyd

    …except ratings and a salary. If there is nothing to worry about up there then whats jeopardizing his life? I don’t waste cordiality on sheep too stupid to know better. Baaaahhhhhh

  • Phukazz

    In a land where everything American is made in China and everything Chinese is made in America, Why not just make a trade pact with China where everyone gets to keep their own stuff?

  • Bobby

    I never knew making hot sauce produced toxic fumes. Its surprising because no other hot sauce company has been shut down. Is Sriracha made with nuclear power? Give me a break. We have a car plant in this town; we don’t try to shut it down when they open the vents.

  • Shoe

    Do you know this from experience?

  • mdashca

    Actually, those comments are not foolish, they are informed. Did you know there is a city in Thailand called Sriracha? Have you ever had a good Thai chili sauce? Have you ever tried pasta made in Italy? How about BBQ, where do you think it’s better, London or Kansas City?

  • Gruhahn

    Not even close on Coca Cola. When I visit the US, I can’t drink the normal Coke there, I have to drink Cherry Coke. It’s not even close.

  • Les

    I live in Shriracha Thailand & everything here is good, fresh & wholesome, including open air restaurants, street food, & home cooking. Hey they don’t use bottled sauces from the mini-mart, they freshly grind chilli & herb sauces. Thai food is everywhere & I always eat at these fabulous good value restaurants.

    When my neighbour grinds the herbs & spices in her outdoor kitchen, I love the aromas drifting, in the air, yum yum.

    Come here to Sriracha Thailand, it’s heaven on earth.

  • Facepalm

    Cry moar.

  • Don Juan

    Well, they just got a lot of free advertising! Now, they just need Rob Ford to say he uses it ! LoL :)

  • Howard Chu

    Check out the radio interview with one of the complainant on CBC One program, As It Happens… (Duration 7:01)

  • coolspot

    That’s why I said “for the most part”. Coke depending on where its made uses sugar, fructose, or some other sweetener. Apparently the sugar version is the best (most classic) but hard to come by these days except in certain parts of the US and Mexico?

  • Lissa

    Can’t they just move to another location where they aren’t so surrounded by local citizens ?! If not well sorry the citizens have to move so the sauce god’s can continue their work, sorry bout it !

  • Kensie Connor

    or you need repeated/prolonged exposure to eat away at your mucous membranes?

  • John Saysfckoff

    shows how much you know, just about every pho shop in sydney use it..

  • Gordon

    pretty sure i wasn’t generalizing watching CNN reporters with their faces in the vents being unaffected…. facts? facts are that at the source, nobody has an issue, many miles away, they’re howling like monkies. Facts are, i don’t have the facts because i have never been there or experienced it personally. But the final fact? This shit could have been resolved and attended to, without courts and legal anything.

  • Dee D

    a town thats looking for free money lmfaooooooo…..what a joke!!!!!!

  • heirloomtomato

    the masses are stupid and cheap? surely you jest…

  • Bondo

    lol your an idiot Gordon.

  • Bondo

    It’s not possible, based on your degree in chili pepper and hot sauce studies?

  • Bondo

    “without courts and legal anything” go to school

  • YoYa

    Left-wing, anti-American bigot with a typical great Canadian inferiority. Time to grow up, little man.

    P.S. Are my fellow Canadians so stupid they don’t even know that “american” is capitalized?

    P.P.S. Only an idiot like you would read a CNN as some sort of scientific fact. Obviously you are not very educated, so I will leave it at that…

  • YoYa

    Gordon is not the smartest chili of the bunch…B-)

  • YoYa

    Only a Canadian with a lot of pent up anger and a huge inferiority complex related to Americans would spell it “monkies.”. Oh, boy…

    Facts = CNN?! Are you a comedian, too, dear Gordon?

  • Karie

    there is a timing thing that they are kind of ignoring. When the reporters showed up it may have not been the same time the chilis are cooked. pop one in a pan in your house and watch how fast you start choking and crying. Being a lover of hot sauce and sriracha is my ketchup, I know from making my own cooking the chilis can be like tear gas

  • bryan

    Not him personally, but a guy he knows.

  • Lucy

    Canadians are not stupid!!!

  • Lucy


  • thegoid

    This kind of equates to all those idiots in Texas who sold their town for a bunch of money so they could mine Natural gas. Now the gas is coming out of the ground, producing a foul odor and causing sickness. Many have had to leave their dreams behind.

    Guess what, you guys asked for a hot sauce plant… and you got it.

  • not for sale

    monkeys/monkies … easy mistake. anyone who gets that upset over issues of conjugation and capitalization in a comment section should be kicked in the pants. actually, you should be kicked twice for posting the same whiny comment so many times you whiny little bitch.

  • not for sale

    you’re= you are

  • not for sale

    You don’t think Gordon’s the hottest chilli but you clearly think you’re
    hot shit. I wonder who forked out the cash for little prince’s tuition? I think it’s going to cost them a little bit more to sort out some of your other issues.

    Gordon gets 3 points for forming full sentences and making an original point. YoYa scores -1 for going OCD for writing “a typical great canadian inferiority.” there are at least two thing wrong with that sentence. I’ll let YoYa pay someone to tell him the answer… ;)

  • not for sale

    “your an idiot.” still laughing at the irony of that one. thanks Bondo!

  • not for sale

    actually I think this little hot head may be one of us! at least his use
    of “fellow canadians” suggests so. plus anyone brainwashed in america
    would know better than to state that one reads “a CNN.” One does not read CNN. one is hit over the head with it multiple times until he is vomiting stars and stripes and crapping whatever else they spoon feed them down there in the land of choice :P “oh if only I was American so I could exercise my freewill!! free market free market!!” lol

  • Elvis Ma

    I like to eat sushi… but i don’t eat that much of it. I’m actually not a big fan of spicy food so spicy sushi is meh. I prefer a nice big hunk of salmon sashimi over the rolls any day.

  • C Phillips

    I’ve tried many different sriracha sauces, and Huy Fong is by far my favorite for general usage. So maybe I’m completely uncultured when it comes to hot sauce, but I know what I like, and I like this stuff.

  • George Jost

    True, coke in China isn’t recommended either

  • George Jost

    The sauce made in California is using a Vietnamese recipe. There is a good Thai Sirachi sauce at the dollar store.

  • charper1

    so if you take the #1 BBQ’er from KC and move them to London to produce the same product, with the same recipe, how in the world can you claim that WHERE something is made makes the difference. It is the person, skills/knowledge and materials used that matters. WOW, some people are plain foolish and just can’t use common sense. Just so closed minded.