Irwindale drops Sriracha opposition

Photo by Jonathan Cohen via Flickr Creative Commons

Southern California’s perceived condiment calamity has flavored national news reports with fears of a global sauce shortage for months. Relish the moment — after much waffling, the saga of Sriracha smells has dried up in Irwindale.

The Irwindale City Council voted Wednesday night to drop a public nuisance declaration and lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods, makers of Sriracha hot sauce, the Associated Press reported.

The dual moves brought an effective end to the spicy-air dispute that had Sriracha devotees worried about future sauce shortages and had suitors including the state of Texas offering Huy Fong a friendlier home.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that Mayor Mark Breceda asked the council to dismiss the order it had unanimously approved last month following a closed-door meeting this week with company CEO David Tran and representatives of Gov. Jerry Brown's Business and Economic Development Office.

City and plant officials have pored over possible solutions to odor and fume complaints during chili-grinding season.

The Pasadena Star-News reported that “the company recently installed stronger filters on its rooftop air filtration system, which creator David Tran said he tested with pepper spray. It is unknown if the new filters will be adequate until the company begins to process chiles, which is expected to begin in August.”

Wednesday's closed-session council vote was unanimous, with one councilman abstaining due to a conflict of interest, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

Residents and business leaders praised the vote that some called overdue.

"Thank you so much for saving Irwindale because we were headed in the wrong direction," Irwindale Fred Barbosa, who lives in Irwindale, told the Tribune after the vote.

Bob Machuca of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said the resolution showed California is "open for business" and is "what we needed to do a long time ago," the AP reported.

The city of about 1,400 people had been at odds with the company, which recently moved its main operations there, after residents complained last year of spicy odors burned their throats and eyes.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the council change its position, but the company had been asking the city for more time as it worked with regional air-quality officials on a plan to make the smell go away, the AP reported.

"We forged a relationship," City Councilman Julian Miranda said Wednesday night. "Let's keep that going."