California town sues hot sauce company for contaminating air with chili

Sriracha hot sauce may be known for burning your taste buds, but one southern California town is also blaming the company behind the popular product for harming its residents.

Residents of Irwindale, CA claim that the odors coming from the Huy Hong Foods factory, where the sauce is made, are causing irritated eyes, throats, and headaches.

On Monday, Irwindale filed a lawsuit against the factory, arguing that the smell is a public nuisance and asking the Los Angeles Supreme Court to stop operations at the facility until the company proposes a way to eliminate the odors it creates.

“If they fix it and the odor problems stop, we don’t need this order; but so far the odor complaints continue,” Irwindale City Attorney Fred Galante told the Los Angeles Times. He noted that about 30 residents have signed on to the city’s complaint against Huy Hong Foods.

“Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action,” Galante said.

A judge will decide whether or not to halt production at the factory on Thursday.

According to the Times, the smell from the factory is so strong that one local family needed to move a birthday party indoors because of it.

The lawsuit claims that city officials met with Huy Hong Foods representatives multiple times to discuss efforts to eliminate the smell coming from the factory. At first, the company agreed to work with the city on the odor problem, but talks fell apart after they eventually denied there was an issue. Galante said representatives told him factory employees in similar situations have yet to complain.

Invented by a Vietnamese immigrant named David Tran, the green-capped Sriracha hot sauce has become extremely popular nationwide since its inception in the 1980s. The first Sriracha Festival was held in downtown Los Angeles over the weekend.