Big Stink: Sriracha Sauce Maker Feeling Heat Over Factory Smell

Eww! We told you once, now get rid of that smell, or we will!

A California city has declared the factory that produces the popular Sriracha hot sauce a public nuisance because of the smells of boiling spices that waft over the area.

The Irwindale City Council's action Wednesday night gives the factory 90 days to make changes to stop the odors that prompted complaints by residents who suffered teary eyes and other sickening effects. Declaring a public nuisance will allow city officials to enter the factory and make changes if the odors persist after the deadline. The council did not elaborate on what action its officials might take.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District said its inspectors have taken air samples inside the plant, and believed the information gathered should allow the factory and the city to resolve their differences.

Attorney John Tate, who represents Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods, called the public nuisance declaration a demonstration of "the city flexing its muscle and thumbing Huy Fong in the eye." There was no immediate comment from the city on Thursday.

Irwindale, which is 20 miles east of Los Angeles, sued Huy Fong last October, asking a judge to halt production at the factory. It said residents downwind complained that fumes from the grinding of red chili peppers was stinging their eyes and giving them headaches and coughing fits. In November a judge ordered the company to stop producing the annoying odors, but by then the annual pepper-grinding season, which runs from August through October, had ended.

In the meantime, several residents complained that the smell was persisting as Huy Fong Foods workers continued to bottle the popular hot sauce that is a staple in Asian restaurants and homes.

- The Associated Press