December 9, 2019

December 09, 2019

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Sriracha Hot Sauce Plant Ordered to Cease Spicy Odors

A California state court recently put a major manufacturing plant for the popular sriracha hot sauce on the hot seat recently, ordering it to cease emitting odors, and the potential for odors, that would violate its facility permit. City of Irwindale v. Huy Fong Foods Inc., No. BC525856, Order Re: Prelim. Inj. (Cal. Sup. Ct., L.A. Co., Nov. 26, 2013).

Although the plant has been operating in Los Angeles County since the late 1980s, news sources have reported that the company began production in a new factory in Irwindale, CA in 2012. See Frank Shyong, Sriracha Sauce Factory Odor Causing Headaches, Burning Eyes, City Says,L.A. Times Oct. 28, 2013, available at,0,2608897.story#axzz2j1T5nJF5. Plaintiffs, the City of Irwindale and the City Attorney, sued Respondent Huy Fong Foods Inc. due to complaints of approximately 30 residents that the spicy odors of the sauce were causing health problems, including irritating throats and eyes, and were also causing residents to avoid spending time outdoors in the area. 

Plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction enjoining Respondent from “operating or using” its sriracha plant. The court did not find sufficient evidence that Plaintiffs’ complained of health problems were tied to the plant’s emissions, but found that Plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their public nuisance claim because the odors were “extremely annoying, irritating, and offensive to the senses.” Order Re: Prelim. Inj., at 2. Accordingly, the court granted petitioners’ preliminary injunction in part and ordered Respondent to “immediately make changes in its site operations” to reduce odors and the potential for odors. Id. However, the court did not go so far as to enjoin the plant’s operations generally. 

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About this Author

Nicole Weinstein, environment, litigation, insurance attorney, Beveridge diamond

Nicole B. Weinstein focuses her practice on environmental litigation and regulatory matters, as well as insurance recovery. Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Weinstein practiced insurance coverage with a national law firm and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Catherine M. Langlois, now retired, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris and Sussex County, General Equity Division.  After her clerkship, Ms. Weinstein earned an LL.M. in environmental law from Pace University, during which time she interned with the Environmental Protection Agency, in the New York/Caribbean Superfund...

Daniel M. Krainin, Environmental Attorney, Beveridge Diamond Law Firm

Daniel M. Krainin is a Principal in the New York office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.  He was named to the 2011 and 2012 Super Lawyers list for the New York Metropolitan area, holds an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and serves as a Vice Chair of the ABA Environment Section's Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee.

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Mackenzie Schoonmaker, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Mackenzie Schoonmaker focuses her practice on litigation and environmental regulatory matters.  Ms. Schoonmaker’s litigation practice includes representing clients in state and federal courts, as well as in data compensation arbitrations under the federal pesticide statute, FIFRA.  Most recently, Ms. Schoonmaker was part of the Firm’s trial team that secured a defense judgment in the District of Columbia Superior Court after a three week trial on tort claims alleging the client supplied corrosive water to apartment buildings.