Nanny State Tries to Shut Down Sriracha

 

Every time I visit California, it seems there’s a new nanny-state rule. There are now more warning signs at LegoLand than I used to see on weapons-filled nuclear submarines.

But now they want to take away my Sriracha? From my cold, dead hands…

The city of Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods on Monday, claiming the spicy scent of ground peppers is a public nuisance in violation of the municipal code. The lawsuit came after some nearby residents complained of burning eyes and throats.

The city asked for a temporary restraining order that would stop all operations at the factory immediately as a judge decides whether a preliminary injunction is necessary.

Thank the gods of everything spicy, holy and delicious that the judge rejected this fascist request. But the city is still pursuing legal action to stop Huy Fong from blessing their community with a heavenly bouquet. “Irwindale”—does that name sounds German to anyone else?

David Tran, chief executive and founder, has offered to do what he can to control the odor and the company has twice added filters to its exhaust vents. But he says the chiles are pungent for a reason — it makes for a better sauce.

“If it doesn’t smell, we can’t sell,” Tran said.

I’m embroidering that on a throw pillow.

Look, I’m a Tea Party supporter, but the brand has taken some hits of late. If we want to vastly expand our appeal, roll back the nanny state and sweep the Senate, let’s rename it the Sriracha Party.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make my lunch.

There are 54 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @flownover

    Wonder if this was deliberate harassment after that raft of stories about Mr Tran’s success with the sauce ? Now California bureaucrats wouldn’t do that ,would they ?

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @PeterMeza
    Sriracha Shortage Avoided! Judge Rules Against Plant Closure (UPDATE)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/sriracha-factory-shutdown_n_4181528.html

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @JohnDavey

    Saucy!

    Nice that the L.A. Times is ALL OVER this Sriracha issue that has brought Irwindale to it’s knees, but had no time to investigate CA State Senator Ronald Calderon, who happens to represent, you know, suburban Los Angeles, and appears to be one corrupt SOB, in a family of corrupt SOBs, where the trail leads to other California legislators. So the L.A. Times leaves it to Al Jazeera to do the deep investigative work, and then report on the Al Jazeera report the next day. Al Jazeera is breaking local/state stories that the L.A. Times cannot seem to find time to investigate – in Los Angeles.

    Personally, I cannot wait for the in-depth report on failure of local L.A. eateries to refill napkin dispensers in a timely fashion.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @sawatdeeka

    My husband told me the other day, “Next time you’re out shopping, pick up a lot of this sauce.”  He had gotten wind of the story, and although he is enjoying a new jumbo bottle of Sriracha, he is concerned that we will run out because of this development.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @KellyB

    According to a sign on the gate, “The Disneyland Resort contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”  When I saw that last winter, I had to take a picture, I was so dumbfounded.

    “Hey folks, it’s poisonous in here!  So have a great time!”

    I went in and rode rides until it got dark.  Gotta love it.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @BereketKelile

    I was intrigued when I came across this story the other day because just last week they held the first Sriracha Festival in L.A.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PeterRobinson

    preview.jpgA Baltimore man, Rob Long would know if the McCormick’s spice company still operates its factory on the Baltimore inner harbor, but as recently as the 1980s the factory would scent the whole harbor with nutmeg one day, allspice the next, pepper the next, and so on.  (I can attest to this as an eye–or rather nose–witness.)  Those scents weren’t offensive.  They were part of what made Baltimore Baltimore. Irwindale might take note.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Theodoric Freiberg: Tell Mr. Tran to close up shop ASAP and move to another state with a better business climate (meaning any other state).  Apparently Irwindale already has a plethora of employment, so it won’t hurt anyone. ;-) · 2 minutes ago

    Not to defend California, but this sounds like it’s primarily a city issue.  Obnoxious, meddling municipalities exist even in the reddest of states.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Sriracha and Zing Zang are essential to my Bloody Marys.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JanMichaelRives

    Yep, the Tran family were boat people. California doesn’t like the fact that they a) are successful and b) hate commies. So they must be stopped!

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @ZinMT

    I saw a profile on the owner Tran.  He is a South Vietnamese immigrant whose family fled Vietnam during the fall to the North.  The name of his company, Huy Fong Foods, is named after the cargo ship his family stowed away in to escape.  A true American story. 

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @genferei

    I can’t believe the naked racism being shown by the city here. These guys need to check their culinary privilege. More than that, everyone involved in the decision to sue needs to have their picture and home address displayed on FreeOurSpicesNow.org . And why not occupy City Hall until a public apology is forthcoming?

    The spice-loving community is crying out for an organizer! (Or it could just be the peppers…)

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @
    genferei: I can’t believe the naked racism being shown by the city here. These guys need to check their culinary privilege. More than that, everyone involved in the decision to sue needs to have their picture and home address displayed on FreeOurSpicesNow.org . And why not occupy City Hall until a public apology is forthcoming?

    The spice-loving community is crying out for an organizer! (Or it could just be the peppers…) · 11 minutes ago

    We demand Gastronomic Justice!

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @NathanielWright

    Irwindale is a city of 1,422 residents.

    Huy Fong Foods employs 200 people in the private sector. Huy Fong is just shy of being one of the top 10 employers in Irwindale. The “city” is a hub for businesses more than a place of residence. If you look at all the other businesses in the area, you can ask which makes it smell worse…the NASCAR track, the Quarries, or Huy Fong?

    As an aside, Irwindale is probably just trying to shake down Huy Fong for money following a deal that Rosemead struck with a poultry plant recently.

    • #14
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    @SouthernPessimist

    So now they are coming after me. I like the Sriracha hot sauce because it fits nicely between the sambal oelek hot chili paste and the Maggi sweet chili sauce. I use all three and many others. 

    I don’t know what Zing Zang is but thanks to this post I will find out.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @ElephasAmericanus
    Theodoric Freiberg: Tell Mr. Tran to close up shop ASAP and move to another state with a better business climate (meaning any other state).  Apparently Irwindale already has a plethora of employment, so it won’t hurt anyone. ;-) · 1 hour ago

    Tran has said his operation is located where it is (in Southern California) to be as close to the pepper crop as possible, ensuring he will have the freshest peppers available to process into his product.  He is likely unable to move to another location with as many fresh red jalapeño peppers available in steady supply that can be delivered and processed within 24 hours, which is why he’s located where he’s at.  If California insists on regulating him to death, Huy Fong could just close up shop.  If not, the product would likely be much harder to find due to more limited supply of ingredients and/or changed in quality.

    Of course, there are lots of peppers in Mexico (something McIlhenny Foods – producer of Tabasco – has also discovered).  Instead of moving to another state, Tran would almost certainly find it easier (not to mention cheaper) just to take his operation out of the country entirely.

    • #16
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    @Leglbegl

    Just gobbled some with my lunchtime chicken. Tell the whiners they can swap houses with me, and inhale the pulp mill aroma. I’ll take Rooster Sauce fumes any day.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @BasilFawlty

    Is there nothing to be said in defense of the neighbors who object to the smell that now permeates their neighborhood?  Or should they just suck it up so that their betters can have the sauce they crave?  I would have no sympathy for folks who moved into the neighborhood of the plant and then objected to the smell.  In this case, however, the plant moved into the neighborhood and created the problem.

    • #18
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    @CrowsNest

    Somewhere, there is a comment waiting to be made about the noble rooster–avatar of Sriracha–standing tall against soft despotism.

    I apprehended this comment for a moment…..but, after “giraffe-gate”, and whereas rooster and soft were replaced with, erm, synonyms……I restrained myself.

    For the children.

    For the CoC.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @genferei
    Basil Fawlty: Is there nothing to be said in defense of the neighbors who object to the smell that now permeates their neighborhood?

    This is what the private law of nuisance is about. No need for government intervention at all.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @flownover

    He ought move to San Antonio and move in next to the Pace’s plant.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @BasilFawlty
    genferei

    Basil Fawlty: Is there nothing to be said in defense of the neighbors who object to the smell that now permeates their neighborhood?

    This is what the private law of nuisance is about. No need for government intervention at all. · 17 minutes ago

    We’re gonna need bigger courtrooms, then.

    • #22
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    @CuriousKevmo

    I think Irwindale is still ticked off that the Raiders screwed them.  Which come to think of it is pretty silly….they dodged a bullet if you ask me.

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Foxman

    I consider myself libertarian, but nobody has the right to cause a public nuisance.  If your factory causes my eyes to water when I’m in my own home, you have to do something about it. 

    A nanny state protects you from yourself, not others.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @genferei
    Foxman: I consider myself libertarian, but nobody has the right to cause a public nuisance.

    What makes this a public nuisance? Why isn’t this better handled as a series of transactions between private individuals? If neighbor A has an action in nuisance then the factory can come to an arrangement with her, failing which the court will assess damages. If neighbor A does not, then why should the factory have to pay?

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Foxman
    genferei

    Foxman: I consider myself libertarian, but nobody has the right to cause a public nuisance.

    What makes this a publicnuisance? Why isn’t this better handled as a series of transactions between private individuals? If neighbor A has an action in nuisance then the factory can come to an arrangement with her, failing which the court will assess damages. If neighbor A does not, then why should the factory have to pay? · 10 minutes ago

    Read the story: “The lawsuit came after some nearby residents complained of burning eyes and throats.”

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @genferei
    Foxman Read the story: “The lawsuit came after some nearby residents complained of burning eyes and throats.” 

    “We recognize that not 100 percent of the population is annoyed by the odor,” [a city attorney] told the judge.

    And I guess that’s why they’re going to court. The trouble with the law of public nuisance is that it makes something private public, so that lobbying etc. takes hold.

    Looking at what may be the relevant California statute (here), the general principle in Section 3479 soon runs into special deals for shooting ranges, farms and “agricultural processing activities”.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @BossMongo

    Sorry, you take away my–as my kids call it–cockle-doodle-doo sauce, and I’m going to the mattresses.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @outstripp

    The name of his company, Huy Fong Foods, is named after the cargo ship his family stowed away in to escape.  A true American story. 

    This explains the weird name.  A Chinese company name with a product that is half Vietnamese ( Tương Ớt)/half Thai (ศรีราชา).  

    And they survived by sharing their food with a tiger, I heard…

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @EdwardSmith

    I live across the street from a supermarket (not one of the big chains).  In the morning, trucks with diesel engines idle the engines while they unload (especially the refrigerated trucks).  They generate a distinct and annoying hum, that I dislike and drive my cat crazy.

    Should I ask them to stop taking deliveries?  Considering the fact that I shop there, that would be stupid.

    Irwindale needs jobs.  That plant employs people.  A few people experience what they would also experience were they to spend time in a field of wild flowers.

    Someone needs to stop this injustice!

    Foxman

    genferei

    Foxman: I consider myself libertarian, but nobody has the right to cause a public nuisance.

    What makes this a publicnuisance? Why isn’t this better handled as a series of transactions between private individuals? If neighbor A has an action in nuisance then the factory can come to an arrangement with her, failing which the court will assess damages. If neighbor A does not, then why should the factory have to pay? · 10 minutes ago

    Read the story: “The lawsuit came after some nearby residents complained of burning eyes and throats.” · 2 hours ago

    • #30

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