Most people who have encountered Sriracha from Huy Fong Foods, Inc. have one of two reactions to it; love or hate. There is no in between. So, perhaps it is not so surprising that the hot sauce has managed to divide a town.
UPDATE 10/31: The judge (clearly a fan of spicy rooster sauce) has decided the halting of production at the Huy Fong Foods factory would be too drastic at this time. So, precious Sriracha will continue to be produced while the company comes to a resolution with the city of Irwindale.
After almost a dozen complaints to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the town of Irwindale is now seeking to have a judge halt production, which David Tran - owner of Huy Fong Foods - warns could cause Sriracha prices to sky rocket.
Inspectors conducted "odor surveillance" on two occasions in and around the neighborhood where Huy Fong Foods is located, said Sam Atwood of the AQMD.
"On both occasions, they could not detect any odor," he said.
Atwood said there was one complaint Tuesday and four Saturday. He said that odors can be fleeting, depending on factors like the weather, and that deep marine layers can trap odors and pollutants close to the ground.
This is the time of year when the factory is processing the hybrid jalapeño pepper developed by Tran specifically for the beloved "rooster sauce." The peppers are ground fresh for about three months out of the year.
The plant can produce about 200,000 bottles a day. The 1,400 person town also gets about 50 full-time and about 200 temporary positions out of it.
If you are a Sriracha devotee, the idea of halting production and sending prices up, probably has you planning a stop at store to stock up on the way home.
If you can't stand spicy, your sympathies are probably with the towns folk of Irwindale who claim to have experienced burning eyes, noses, and throats as well as headaches.
The judge is expected to rule on the halting of the factory Thursday. Whatever the outcome, it can't hurt to stockpile.
You can contact Rebecca Dittmar, Arts & Culture Editor at email@example.com.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.