Good news, America (except for Irwindale, California): A judge ruled on Thursday that the Sriracha factory doesn't have to close before it finishes processing peppers for next year's supply of hot sauce. The Irwindale factory became the subject of a lawsuit this week after about 30 residents complained of burning throats and headaches, as the city believes those unpleasant symptoms are connected to the factory.
The Huy Fong Foods-owned factory has a week left before it finishes processing chilis for the famed Sriracha hot sauce. Irwindale wanted to shut down that process immediately, asking a judge to issue a restraining order against the company today. The judge, the LA Times reports, declined, telling the city "You're asking for a very radical order on a 24-hour notice. You probably should have come in earlier." Judge Robert H. O'Brien set a November 22 hearing, which will determine whether the factory closes to address the alleged odor issues prompting complaints from residents.
Company lawyers argued that closing the factory immediately would prevent them from verifying the complaints of city residents. The Times explains that so far, air quality monitoring around the factory doesn't seem to match up to Irwindale's accusations:
Initial reports from air quality inspectors found no detectable odor 20 feet from the exhaust system, according to the declaration. Odors were also not detected in nearby streets around the factory. The inspectors found a mild chile odor in the factory's lobby, rated a one on a scale of one to ten. Near the exhaust hoods where chiles are ground, inspectors rated it three, the declaration said.
But air-quality regulators have not yet completed their analysis of the situation. The factory already uses a carbon-based filtration system to remove some of the pungent results of its annual chili processing fest, a production connected to the harvesting schedule of California-grown jalapeno peppers. The city wants the factory to install a $600,000 filtration system But factory owners have said that they're not sure the city's suggestion would be necessarily more effective — or safer. Meanwhile, in case the factory does shut down, the Atlantic Wire has pretty much everything you need to know about surviving the coming tribulations.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.