Sriracha has apparently been burning up more than just taste buds. According to the Los Angeles Times, residents of Irwindale, California — where Huy Fong Foods produces its famous hot sauce — claim they've been experiencing headaches and burning sensations in their eyes and throats because of a pungent odor emanating from the Sriracha-production plant. The city has reportedly now filed suit against Huy Fong Foods, claiming that the odor is a public nuisance and requesting that the plant cease production until the issue can be resolved.
"The price of Sriracha will jump up a lot."
Huy Fong Food's founder and CEO, David Tran, has warned that this could cause the price of Sriracha to rise for the first time ever. "If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump up a lot," Tran tells the Times. That would mark a major change for Tran, who has famously ignored profits to keep prices low — he's never once raised Sriracha's wholesale selling price through its 30 years of production. And while Huy Fong Foods does have multiple factories producing hot sauce, it's already been struggling to keep up with demand, suggesting the shutdown could push through Tran's reluctance to alter his pricing.
Filters were installed to mitigate smells from the Irwindale plant after initial complaints were brought up after its construction last year, reports the Times. The plant operates for only three months each year, however, and is now in the middle of its season once again. Huy Fong Foods says that it's looking into options for further reducing the smell, but it hasn't decided on how just yet. "Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action," Irwindale city attorney Fred Galante tells the Times. A judge is scheduled to decide whether to grant the city's order shutting down the plant on Thursday — hot sauce fans may want to stock up before then.