When it comes to hot sauce, there are a handful of brand names that take the lead for the best. Sriracha, although pronounced in a myriad of different ways, is one of the most well-known and distinctly flavorful condiments that Americans have grown to love. Whether spread across General Tso’s Chicken or doused onto a slice of pizza, Sriracha adds a savory kick to everyone’s favorite foods. With such a large following, it is no secret there has been an ongoing controversy over the health and environmental concerns that the Sriracha factory poses to the public.
Toward the end of 2013, the townsfolk of Irwindale, Cali. came together to create a lawsuit against the Huy Fong Foods CEO in an effort to either have a better filtration process implemented within the Sriracha Factory or have the factory shut down altogether. An accumulation of filed complaints about the toxins that the factory releases into the air was the premise of the ongoing debate. It was claimed that the fumes released when the red jalapeño peppers are processed affected those residing within a close proximity to the factory. The severity of the health risks never exceeded watery eyes, coughing fits and sore throats, but the main concern was that there should be no health risks in the first place.
After an escalating dispute amongst the Huy Fong Foods Company, Sriracha lovers and those affected by the factory’s noxious odors, the CEO halted Sriracha production until further notice. It was also rumored that the factory would be moving to Texas to continue production, but that will be unnecessary because it has been officially announced that shipment of the beloved hot sauce will resume at the end of the month. During the 30-day freeze of the factory, the California Department of Health Services tested the fumes for any toxins or components that might be detrimental to public’s health. It was declared that the Sriracha Factory emissions are free of any toxic or harmful microorganisms, and will pick up production as soon as possible. The Sriracha shortage has ceased and spicy food lovers have rejoiced.
Although the majority of the public is grateful for the continuation of Sriracha production, the townsfolk of the Irwindale are left with the short end of the straw. Initially they had simply asked for a more effective filtration system so that the gases omitted would not affect the environment. This suggestion was dismissed early on due to the money that Huy Fong Foods would have to put into it. Making compromises to better the environment and lessen the health risks for the public will come second to making economical decisions, especially when it comes to companies in the food industry in America. This popular debacle amongst Americans and the uncompromising outcome did not go unnoticed to the environmental protection organizations and it is unlikely that this is the end of it.