Los Angeles suburb holds off on hot sauce decision

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013, file photo, Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. A judge has given a dose of cold water to the hot sauce Sriracha, ruling Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, that the factory that manufactures the trendy condiment must partially shut down after neighbors complained of the spicy smells it was producing. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013, file photo, Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

IRWINDALE, Calif. (AP) — The waft of a popular hot sauce will remain in a Southern California city for now as council members on Wednesday night delayed a decision on whether its spicy emissions are a public nuisance.

The Irwindale City Council unanimously voted at a public meeting to wait until its April meeting before considering further action on the Sriracha plant. One councilman, H. Manuel Ortiz, recused himself from the vote and sat out the discussion because he lives near the factory.

Attorney John Tate, who represents Sriracha maker Huy Fong foods, said the company had been working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District on its filtration system since complaints first arose last year.

Tate said the results of AQMD’s tests will be available next month before April’s council meeting, and called Wednesday night’s meeting premature and “totally unnecessary.”

The Los Angeles suburb sued Huy Fong Foods, Inc., last fall to immediately shut down the factory during its three-month chili-grinding season after residents complained that factory fumes stung their eyes and gave them coughing fits.

The request was refused, but in November, a judge ordered the plant to stop producing the smells until air-quality experts could determine how to mitigate them.

City residents said at Wednesday night’s meeting that they are not out to get the company.

“We are not here to shut Huy Fong Foods down, a lot of our kids love your chili,” said Dena Zepeda, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “We want to fix it.”

Councilman Julian Miranda agreed, saying the current controversy is “just a hurdle.”

“Once we get past this hurdle, I feel we are going to have a long-standing relationship between Huy Fong and the city of Irwindale,” Miranda said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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