Friday, December 6, 2013
The sriracha hot sauce made by Huy Fong Foods is an incredible small business success story. Started by Vietnamese immigrant, David Tran, Huy Fong's Foods sold 20 million bottles of sauce last year to the tune of $60 million. Percentage sales growth is in the double digits each year. And the company has managed all this without any advertising budget.
But maybe the suace has gotten too spicey. Recently, the city of Irwindale, California brought a public nuisnace case against the company's plant:
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Tuesday ordered a Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale, Ca. be partially shut down in response to odor complaints from nearby residents.
Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled in favor of the city and ordered sauce maker Huy Fong Foods to cease any kind of operations that could be causing the odors and make immediate changes that would help mitigate them.
The injunction does not stop the company operating or using the property entirely, or specify the types of actions that are required.
Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods on Oct. 21 after nearby residents complained of heartburn, inflamed asthma and even nosebleeds that they said were caused by the spicy odor coming from the hot sauce plant.
O'Brien acknowledged in his ruling that there was a "lack of credible evidence" linking the stated health problems to the odor, but said that the odor appears to be "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance."
He also wrote that the odor could be "reasonably inferred to be emanating from the facility," and determined that the city is "likely to prevail" in declaring the odor a public nuisance, according to the ruling.