CITY OF INDUSTRY (CBSLA.com) — A Sriracha maker has been forced to halt shipments of the popular hot sauce until mid-January due to health concerns.
In a statement, the California Department of Public Health said, in part, "…a hold time was necessary to ensure an effective treatment of micro-organisms present in the [Huy Fong Foods] product. Holding products for a period of time at a specified pH level is one method of controlling those micro-organisms."
Huy Fong Foods said via phone that they're complying with the order and there won't be a sauce shortage.
Distributor Damon Chu of Giant Union Co., however, said there's already a shortage. His last hot sauce shipment was Monday and his supply won't even last the week.
"We already have a letter from a customer saying we are their only supplier for this. If we don't give it to them, how are they going to survive?" he said.
Chu said the company could lose up to $400,000 and face lawsuits.
He predicts Sriracha could be gone from restaurants and store shelves by the end of the month.
Chu also questions the governments timing.
"This product has been out there for almost 30 years and now all of a sudden it shut down?" he said.
CBS2's Andrea Fujii reports that the Department of Public Health said the regulation is not a new law and every business must comply.
The city of Irwindale recently sued Huy Fong Foods, claiming odor from its production was making residents sick.
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