Lawmaker lobbies for Sriracha move

 

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) is touting his San Fernando Valley district as a potential new location for the maker of the popular Sriracha sauce.

Huy Fong Foods, which produces the widely consumed chili pepper-based sauce with the rooster-emblazoned label, is facing a lawsuit over its current factory in Irwindale, Calif.

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Residents in the area had complained that the odor from the factory caused physical symptoms such as sore throats, headaches and eye irritation.

In a letter to Huy Fong Foods President William Tran, Cardenas suggested moving to his district if relocating is the company's only viable option.

“By now, you may have been directly contacted by individual states to move your business there,” Cardenas wrote. “But why move thousands of miles, when you can keep jobs in California, the state you founded your successful company in?”

Cardenas highlighted that his office “can be helpful in facilitating conversations” with local economic development agencies. He also said it could provide “specific helpful connections" for relocating.

The Irwindale city council officially designated the factory as a public nuisance last week and gave Huy Fong Foods 90 days to eliminate the odor. That decision came after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in November ordered a partial shutdown of the factory until the issue is resolved.

Huy Fong Foods's Sriracha sauce raked in more than $60 million in sales last year. David Tran, the company's CEO, has said that the strong smell is necessary to maintain the sauce's appeal.

“If it doesn't smell, we can't sell,” Tran told the Los Angeles Times. “If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump a lot.”