Things seem to be looking up for the embattled Huy Fong Foods: Last night the Irwindale City Council delayed the decision to declare the Sriracha-makers a "public nuisance" until April, meaning the company can continue its endorphin-creating hot sauce operations for now, KABC reports. This bit of good news follows a string of setbacks for the company, who were brought to court in the Fall by neighbors complaining that the factory's production caused 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.
As seen in the KABC video below, the City Council meeting was well attended by pro-Sriracha community members sporting red shirts. Employees even took the mic to address the City Council, with one explaining that he does not suffer working with the chilis: "I work in the mixing room. I have asthma. I mix every day. I feel nothing wrong with my lungs or my health, so please don't shut us down."
More good news for the company is that South Coast Air Quality Management District officials presented their findings at the meeting, saying the presence of pepper fumes in the air may have been overstated. Apparently of 61 complaints they received about the air, "40 came from just four households." A representative from the AQMD told the council: "We have not determined that there has been a public nuisance that requires us to take any enforcement action."
Of course, there were also people complaining, including one woman who said of tthe factory: "It's really, really bad for me...and for my grandkids. I have 11. Five of them have asthma and it's bad for them." The council has postponed the decision until April; however, if Huy Fung Foods is at that time declared a public nuisance, the LA Times reports that they will have "a set period of time to comply with the city's demands to fix the smell," otherwise the city manager can "enter the property and make the changes, with the cost of the changes to be paid by" Huy Fong Foods. Check the footage from the council meeting below: