| LOS ANGELES, April 22
LOS ANGELES, April 22 A U.S. congressman from a
Los Angeles community is seeking to lure the factory that makes
the bestselling Sriracha-brand hot pepper sauce to his district
after residents in its current location complained about the
U.S. Representative Tony Cardenas, a Democrat whose district
includes much of the San Fernando Valley, wants to convince
David Tran, the owner of Huy Fong Foods company which makes the
hot sauce, to relocate rather than continue to fight with the
residents of the city of Irwindale, California.
On Tuesday, Cardenas met Tran and toured the factory which
makes the Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, one of the top-selling
condiments in the United States. The red-colored liquid is sold
in clear squeeze bottles with a green cap and trademark rooster
Cardenas said the company grossed $60 million in sales from
its Sriracha brand alone last year, with little marketing, and
hailed Tran, an ethnic Chinese immigrant from Vietnam who
founded his company in Los Angeles in 1980, as "an American
Huy Fong Foods hires 70 full-time employees and 200 seasonal
workers and produces over 20 million bottles of hot sauce
yearly. "My district has a long history of manufacturing, and we
would welcome your company with open arms," Cardenas wrote in a
letter to Tran last week.
The Irwindale City Council was expected to vote Wednesday
night on a resolution declaring the plant's peppery fumes a
public nuisance, giving Huy Fong 90 days to remedy the smell.
The vote comes after the city filed a lawsuit against Huy
Fong last October saying the strong smell of peppers being
crushed at the plant was causing headaches and irritating the
eyes and throats of nearby residents, forcing some to remain
indoors during the day.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered the hot sauce
maker in November to curb noxious emissions from the plant but
stopped short of requiring a shutdown as sought by the city.
Cardenas said he noticed little odor inside the plant and
none whatsoever outside, although he acknowledged that
chili-grinding season was still months away.
"We have some local elective officials who aren't willing to
be fair with a business that they asked to come and set up shop
in their city," Cardenas told Reuters. "It's unfortunate."
Cardenas is one of many politician seeking to woo Sriracha
and its coveted manufacturing jobs.
The company says it has more than two dozen invitations from
officials across the country, several in Texas.
The Republican Party leaders in Los Angeles County have also
rallied to defend Sriracha, with the local Central Committee
approving a resolution urging Irwindale to "take such actions as
necessary" to keep Huy Fong Foods in the area.
The committee has also organized a demonstration in support
of Huy Fong before Wednesday's Irwindale City Council meeting.
(Additional reporting by Sharon Bernstein from Sacramento;
Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Miral Fahmy)