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Hopes dashed for a hot time in Philly as nuisance suit settles p2

6/6/2014 | Real Estate Blog

Huy Fong Foods Inc. has enjoyed tremendous success since its founder, David Tran, first started producing chili sauces in 1980. The company’s hottest — in every sense of the word — product is by far the Sriracha sauce. Some serious fans we know will leave a restaurant if they do not see “rooster sauce” on the tables.

The company uses a lot of chili peppers to manufacture the millions of bottles it sells every year. Unfortunately for the neighborhoods around the factory in Irwindale, California, with the grinding process comes acrid fumes that sting eyes and cause coughing fits. When the residents went to the city council for help, the city council turned to the courts, asking for a preliminary injunction — that is, asking the court to halt production until more effective filtration systems could be installed.

The judge declined to stop production but ordered the company to find a way to mitigate the fumes. Tran objected, loudly and clearly, to the city council’s actions and the court’s decision.

The parties continued to negotiate, it seems, and when the public nuisance vote finally came before the city council in May, the council voted to drop the matter. Tran had apparently installed a new filtration system that would take care of the problem.

However, the grinding season hasn’t started yet, and only then will anyone — Tran, the city or the neighborhood — know just how effective the new system will be. So, at the moment, it looks as if Irwindale and Huy Fong have put the matter behind them, but no one really knows for sure.

In the meantime, cities like Philadelphia that have courted the manufacturer in earnest and in jest are holding their breath wondering if a development deal can still come out of what many wags have termed a hot mess.


Huffington Post, “Sriracha Battle Ends As California City Votes To Drop Nuisance Declaration, Lawsuit Against Huy Fong Foods,” The Associated Press, May 29, 2014

New York Times, “Sriracha Factory Irritates Some California Noses, but Entices Politicians,” Ian Lovett, May 13, 2014