Posted on December 12, 2013
Huy Fong Foods, maker of the popular Sriracha hot sauce, has been ordered by California regulators to cease shipment to stores for 30 days.
Food suppliers will not be able to restock Huy Fong Food’s three sauces, Sriracha, Chili Garlic and Sambal Oelek until mid-January.
The hold is needed to “ensure an effective treatment of microorganisms present in the product,” health department spokeswoman Anita Gore told the Associated Press on Wednesday. The factory has been in national media headlines in recent weeks because it’s being sued by the suburban city of Irwindale after residents complained of suffering from heartburn, asthma and nosebleeds due to the peppery fumes that are emitted from the factory.
Though the chili sauce giant was not forced to shut down, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge said the plant must immediately stop any odor-causing productions until air experts can identify and mitigate the smell.
Huy Fong Foods has seen a 20% increase in revenue nearly every year since its founding in 1980. Its sauces were manufactured in Rosemead for 30 years before it relocated to Irwindale three years ago.
David Tran, owner of Huy Fong Foods, said the city of Irwindale offered a loan with “irresistible” terms of only paying interest for 10 years, with a balloon payment at the end.
Huy Fong took the loan and contributed $250,000 to the city each year as part of the deal, Tran said in statements released to the Los Angeles Times. The company built a $40-million factory that at full capacity could generate about $300 million a year in sales.
But once odor complaints about the company came in, Tran felt the city of Irwindale acted severely toward it without a real investigation into the matter. The company then began borrowing from East West Bank with less favorable terms to pay off the loans from Irwindale.
The family-run company saw $60 million in revenue in 2012. Tran began producing and selling his first chili sauce in his home country of Vietnam before immigrating to the United States in 1980. Tran’s son, born William Tran, is the company’s president. His daughter, Yassie Tran-Holliday is vice-president.