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Chilies, like house guests, can be a real nuisance after a while p3

We are finishing up our discussion of the dispute between Sriracha sauce manufacturer Huy Fong Foods Inc. and its neighbors. When the dispute first made headlines, several states and cities invited the company to relocate from Irwindale, California, to their more hospitable environs. To the best of our knowledge, Maryland was not among the suitors, but Texas sent an entire delegation of state officials to meet with Huy Fong executives in May.

Sriracha is known for being the hottest condiment available, thanks to its unique combination of chilies and spices. And the company's story is inspiring: The founder, a Vietnamese immigrant, started making Sriracha and other chili sauces in a small warehouse more than 30 years ago. By 2012, according to Businessweek, Huy Fong was selling 20 million bottles a year, bringing in $60 million in sales.

Manufacturing 20 million bottles every year requires a lot of red jalapenos, and those jalapenos need to be ground before they are turned into Sriracha sauce. The process, however, emits fumes into the nearby neighborhoods and, according to residents, causes eyes to itch and water, among other symptoms. It made sense when the city took their complaints seriously.

Unfortunately, the dispute mushroomed, with David Tran, Huy Fong's founder, refusing to consider additional filtration systems and the city council preparing a vote to declare the company a public nuisance. The parties settled the matter recently, with Tran installing additional filters and the city council dropping the public nuisance action.

When all of this started, though, one of the challenges for Huy Fong was that chili grinding season was over and not due to start up again for months. Testing any improvements to the plant would be pointless outside of the grinding season.

Tran may have installed a stronger filtration system, one that he believes will be more effective in blocking the fumes, but the proof will be in the chili grinding: No one will know for sure until the grinding season comes around again in August.

Source: Huffington Post, "Sriracha Battle Ends As California City Votes To Drop Nuisance Declaration, Lawsuit Against Huy Fong Foods," The Associated Press, May 29, 2014

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