A Sriracha plant in Irwindale, Calif., has been given 90 days to eliminate an odor associated with the production of its popular hot sauce after the city council declared the plant to be a public nuisance on Wednesday.
The decision came despite testimony by air-quality experts that progress had been made at the plant in recent months, The Associated Press reported
. The 2-and-a-half-year-old plant is owned by the Los Angeles-based company Huy Fong Foods.
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If the company does not address the issue within 90 days, city officials will have the right to enter the facility and make any changes necessary to eliminate the odor completely.
The designation comes after the city of Irwindale filed a lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods last October
after many residents complained about the smell emanating from the 650,000-square-foot facility. Some residents said the pungent smell caused heartburn, inflamed asthma, and nosebleeds.
In November, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert H. O'Brien ordered Huy Fong Foods to halt any production
that might cause the smell. The judge gave the company the right to continue operating in other areas. The smell reportedly did not cease despite the ruling.
John Tate, an attorney representing Huy Fong Foods, Inc., told the AP that the company had been working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District on its filtration system since complaints first arose and was committed to finding long-term solutions by June 1.
According to Tate, the public nuisance designation was merely a demonstration of "the city flexing its muscle and thumbing Huy Fong in the eye."
Huy Fong was founded by Vietnamese businessman David Tran, who reportedly began selling his now famous family hot sauce from a van in 1980 in Los Angeles. The privately held business reportedly made $85 million in 2012.
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According to the Sriracha founder, the hot sauce is comprised of a simple recipe containing chili pepper, garlic, salt, sugar, and vinegar in certain proportions.
Though the Sriracha plant operates year-round, the nauseating odor is reportedly only present for three months between August and October, which is California's jalapeno pepper harvest season.
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