Controversy surrounding SoCal hot sauce company heating up

IRWINDALE - Sriracha sauce will be spicing up the Irwindale City Council tonight.

Complaints about the air stinging from the seasonal mashing of peppers near Huy Fong Food Inc.'s plant led the city to take civil action against the sauce maker and, in November, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien ordered the plant to mitigate the problem.

Since then, the city has expanded its lawsuit.

"The city of Irwindale is trying to shut us down,'' Huy Fong operations executive Donna Lam said.

Lam and company founder David Tran are expected at tonight's council meeting, during which council members will consider an effort to force the plant's closure, something Lam called "premature.''

Tran, an immigrant of Chinese-Vietnamese descent who started the company in 1980, said a mitigation plan was proposed to the South Coast Air Quality Management District late last year, but the city was refusing to waiting for an answer.

The Irwindale plant, opened in 2010 on 23 acres, employs about 80 people.  

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