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Judge Denies Irwindale's Request To Halt Sriracha Production Over Alleged Odor

LOS ANGELES ( — A judge Thursday denied the City of Irwindale's request to force a local food company to halt production of a popular chili sauce after citizens complained of strong odors.

The complaint filed against Huy Fong Foods Inc, sought temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctions "enjoining all operations on … the subject property until (Huy) abates the public nuisance herein by preventing and causing the emanation of the strong, offensive chili odor."

According to the complaint, residents began complaining in September to the city about the chili smell from the 600,000-square-foot facility. The chilies are mashed during a two-month period in the fall, the company said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien said Thursday morning that the city was "asking for a very radical order on a 24-hours' notice."

The city staff met with Huy Fong Foods officials Oct. 1 and company representatives said they would "do everything possible to abate the odors." But on Oct. 16, the city staff was told by a company official that no odor problem existed, the suit says.

"The odors are so strong and offensive as to have caused residents to move outdoor activities indoors and even to vacate their residences temporarily to seek relief from the odors," according to the suit.

On Oct. 17, the city sent a notice of violation of the Irwindale Municipal Code to Huy Fong Foods and demanded that a strategy be put in place to correct the problem, according to the complaint.

"To date, the city has received no action plan from (Huy) illustrating the steps it will take to address the problem," the suit says.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction has been scheduled for Nov. 22.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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