It's clearly time to panic: The embattled Huy Fong Foods has been barred from shipping its fiery sauces including Sriracha until mid-January. According the LA Times, the California Department of Public Health is enforcing a 30-day hold on the company's products because no ingredients in their sauces are cooked. The idea is that the hold "helps ensure the sauce is free of harmful microorganisms for the duration of its shelf life" explains a DOH rep. While Huy Fong Foods expects shipments to resume normally following the hold, this is extremely bad news for distributors who are stuck without Sriracha. One such distributor tells the LA Times that he estimates losing up to $300,000 because of the shipping delay.
News of the halt follows recent legal turmoil for the Irwindale, CA hot sauce plant, which was brought to court earlier this Fall by neighbors complaining that the factory's production causes unpleasant odors and burning eyes. In late November, a judge ordered that Huy Fong Foods cease any operations that cause irritating odors, although how exactly they were supposed to do that was unspecified. The judge also made it clear that there was a "lack of credible evidence" linking the various cited ailments like burning eyes and headaches to the odors. It's not all bad news for the Sriracha makers, though. Yesterday filmmaker Griffin Hammond dropped his Sriracha documentary, all about the cultishly loved condiment.