Amid reports of residents suffering headaches, burning eyes and other injuries near a Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale, California, a judge has ordered a halt in production to address odors emanating from the factory.
The City of Irwindale filed a lawsuit against the Huy Fong Foods Sriracha plant on Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, calling odors from the plant a public nuisance.
Although the judge indicated that there is a lack of credible evidence at this time linking the Srirach plant to injuries, production has been stopped until a solution can be found to reduce or eliminate odors coming from the facility.
City officials say they have received numerous calls from city residents about the smell from the factory, which produces extremely powerful hot chili sauce. Despite the lawsuit, city officials say they hope to work with the factory to resolve the problems.
The owner of the $40 million, 650,000 square foot factory is David Tran, who has said he expects to outgrow the facility by 2017 as sriracha hot sauce rides a wave of growing national popularity. The factory just opened this summer. The company sold 20 million bottles of Sriracha last year alone.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of the first Sriracha Festival, which was held in Los Angeles this weekend and was attended by more than 800 people.
Since production began at the Sriracha plant in California, Irwindale city residents have complained that the smell is so powerful that it causes eyes to burn, headaches and has forced many to move outdoor activities indoors.
Plant officials say they have contacted the Air Quality Management District, which has recommended a new air filtration system be installed to combat the problem.