US & Canada

Sriracha hot sauce factory fends off restraining order

Bottles of Huy Fong brand Sriracha chili sauce are seen for sale at a grocery store in Los Angeles, California 30 October 2013
Image caption Huy Fong founder David Tran warned the price of the condiment would go up if the factory were shut down

A judge has rejected a Los Angeles suburb's attempt to halt production of a popular hot sauce, after residents complained of the factory's smell.

Irwindale's application for a temporary restraining order against Sriracha-maker Huy Fong Foods was "very radical", Judge Robert O'Brien said.

He scheduled a hearing for November to hear further arguments in the case.

The factory processes 100m lb (45m kg) of chilli pepper each year in an autumn harvest season.

The peppers are roasted with garlic, creating pungent fumes that are sent through a carbon-based filtration system.

Residents of Irwindale, which is a small city, argue the filter does not do enough.

They say the odour burns their throats, makes their eyes water and gives them headaches.

Huy Fong Foods says it had been working with the city to reduce the smell, but disagreed with officials' suggestion that the company invest in a $600,000 (£373,000) filtration system.

Founder David Tran says his company, which made about $85m last year, had been looking into other options.

But he told the Los Angeles Times he would not change the type of chilli pepper, as it makes for a better hot sauce.

"If it doesn't smell, we can't sell," Mr Tran said. "If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump a lot."

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