Huy Fong Foods officials are mulling whether to move their Irwindale, Calif., factory to an alternative location.
Sriracha hot sauce creator David Tran told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that the company has received multiple offers from politicians and businesspeople hoping to house Huy Fong's manufacturing plant. Tran said he has invited leaders from 10 states - and a handful of California cities - to check out the factory, and then decide if the residents of their respective towns would disapprove of the strong smell that'll inevitably waft from the facility.
Tran maintained that his company hasn't settled on moving, but is interested in investigating various choices.
Tran's announcement comes two weeks after the Irwindale City Council unanimously deemed the fumes coming from Huy Fong Foods' factory a "public nuisance." Councilmembers gave the hot sauce makers 90 days to find a way to diminish the scent in the April 10 ruling. Tran told the Times that he's worried Irwindale won't accept any offer his company will submit - officials from the Los Angeles suburb previously suggested Huy Fong Foods change its Sriracha recipe to omit the fresh, ground chiles that reportedly cause the harsh smell, which the hot sauce maker said it would not do.
"[City officials] tell you one thing, but think another," Tran told the Times during an interview at Huy Fong Foods headquarters. "I don't want to sit here and wait and die."
But Irwindale City Attorney Fred Galante said he was surprised and disappointed at Tran's reaction to the Council's decision.
"This seems very extreme," Galante said, adding that Huy Fong Foods hasn't yet offered any substitutions to ease the issue. "It's disappointing, given that [air quality officials] have explained that there are readily available solutions."
According to Donna Lam, who works as Huy Fong Foods' executive operations officer, representatives from Alabama, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa and Kansas have offered up their cities for the factory's location.
California Congressman Tony Cardenas recognized the economic benefits of keeping Huy Fong in the Golden State. He said on Wednesday that the Sriracha makers don't need to stray far from their headquarters.
"California's 29th District is home to a vibrant network of businesses," Cardenas, whose district covers the San Fernando Valley, wrote in a press release this week. "Why send Huy Fong Foods off thousands of miles away when they can stay in California and create jobs here?"
Texas State Representative Jason Villalba joined the ranks of officials hoping to woo Sriracha on Wednesday. He released a statement inviting the Trans to meet and discuss the possible option of moving to Texas.
"I am astonished and dismayed by the recent actions of the Irwindale City Council to further hinder the operations of local small business, Huy Fong Foods," he stated.
Citizens of Irwindale have been locked in a legal battle with Huy Fong Foods since October 2013, when local reports of "burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches" started surfacing. Some residents said the stench of fresh chiles wafting from the factory caused people living nearby to move all outdoor activities inside. Some vacated their homes until the putrid fumes subsided.
The Sriracha factory was placed on temporary, partial shutdown in November 2013, then narrowly avoided another closure by the city in February of this year.