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SOURCE Huy Fong Foods, Inc.
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Huy Fong Foods, Inc., producer of Sriracha, one of the most popular hot sauces in the US, is fighting for its right to continue producing its internationally-celebrated chili sauce. The company, born from the passion and ingenuity of Founder and CEO David Tran, a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant who came to the U.S. over 35 years ago with pennies in his pocket, is set to take on the City of Irwindale as both entities head into a public hearing today that may determine if the heralded condiment maker can keep operations open.
"The City of Irwindale is trying to shut us down. We're fighting for our jobs, our livelihoods and the business we built from the bottom up into one of the most loved hot sauces in the country," said Donna Lam, Huy Fong Executive Operations Officer.
The battle between the City of Irwindale and Huy Fong Foods began in late 2012 when the city received a complaint about a strong chili smell coming from the plant, which employs over 80 workers. Now at stake is the company's ability to continue operations for the ubiquitous, cult status brand that has become a California business success story and shining example of the American Dream.
Since the initial complaint, Huy Fong has been working with South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), a regulatory agency overseeing air quality control in the region, to determine the nature and extent of the problem and take the appropriate measures to remediate. As an initial step, in 2013 the company installed additional filters for air access points to help improve external air quality.
"People say that it's not Sriracha that smells in Irwindale; it's the City government," said Huy Fong CEO and Founder, David Tran. "We've been working with AQMD since late last year to see what the problem is. We've proposed a plan to immediately fix any problems once we know what steps need to be taken based on AQMD's analysis. Yet the City refuses to await those results and is proceeding with the hearing before Huy Fong can act on them."
As a result, the company is now prepared to stop what they perceive as strong-arming tactics from the local government. "Is there something going on in the City of Irwindale that extends beyond the alleged smell of our Sriracha?" asks Lam. "Is the city of Irwindale trying to send a strong anti-business message? This is not the partnership we anticipated."
The matter will go before a public hearing at Irwindale Council Chambers tonight at 6:30 pm, where the City Council could vote to shut down the business. "This hearing is premature," added Lam. "We need to determine what the issue is first before we can solve the problem, but it must be done through the proper channels. A fair and open exploratory process should be the goal of all parties involved, and we implore our supporters to join in the fight to save our Sriracha."
"We've opened up our doors earlier this year to public tours so that anyone who wants to see how their favorite hot sauce is made, can feel like part of the family," said Tran. "Already hundreds of people have had an up-close-and-personal experience with our chili peppers, and everyone leaves smiling."
About Huy Fong Foods, Inc.: Since opening its doors in the U.S. in 1980, Huy Fong Foods has grown to become one of the leaders in the Asian hot sauce market. Founded by David Tran, who created the company's first products by hand, Huy Fong currently produces and distributes three products, and is best known for their Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, their best selling item. Huy Fong Foods' chili sauces are made from California farmed fresh, red Jalapeno chili peppers and contain no water or artificial colors, resulting in sauces that are flavorful and hot. Characterized by clear plastic bottles, green caps and an iconic rooster logo, Huy Fong Foods sauces can be found at your local retailer. For more information, visit www.huyfong.com.
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