Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Oct 28, 2013 09:38 PM

Sriracha is causing a stink in LA

Their big new plant has brought a new kind of smog to town.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This was on the news last night too. One lady claimed her dog sneezes from the chile odors. The news woman said that while they were there, they couldn't smell anything, but that residents said that it was because it had been raining.

    1. That evidently is a hot news story (g) because the national morning programs like GMA ran it today. The on camera reporter did confirm that inside the building the fumes were pretty intense causing him to cough and have watery eyes. But on the roof of the plant, standing right over one of the vents that had carbon filters installed, while he could smell the chili odor, he said he had no physical symptoms from the odor like he had inside.

      1. A judge has denied the town's attempt to shut down production. This is news in UK.

        4 Replies
        1. re: GraydonCarter

          It's a 40 $million+ new plant, that provides jobs. This is such an unfortunate problem with no easy solution, but it probably should have been anticipated when a location was being chosen. Coffee roasters stink, too.

          1. re: Veggo

            It's too bad that the Sriracha plant couldn't have located next to the Hyperion Waste Water Treatment facility along the coast by LAX. That way, when the prevailing wind is blowing off shore the folks in the RV park that sits just adjacent to the facility would have a better competing odor to "enjoy" while camping (well, not really camping I suppose when you're in a 50 foot motor coach) there...

            1. re: Servorg

              Maybe someone should open a beef broth/stock making plant next to the Sriracha plant. Then the air would smell like pho. :)

            2. re: Veggo

              There are three coffee roasters in my neighborhood and I like the smell. I don't think it is at all comparable, because the fumes from hot chiles are an irritant. This plant processes a huge volume of chiles, so I can imagine that it creates a problem.

          2. The word "odor" is being used by the press and by people affected and others commenting here, but the problem isn't really the odor (smell). Some people complain of watering eyes. That's because of irritants in the fumes which are distinct from the odoriferous components.

            2 Replies
            1. re: GH1618

              As I mentioned above in my first post, the on camera reporter stood directly over one of the main vents on the roof of the plant and said that the carbon filters that had been installed took away all of the irritants from the remaining odor of the processed chiles.

              1. re: Servorg

                Perhaps that will do it, but evidently that system has not been in place and functioning since the plant began operating.

            2. Any company declaring $ 83 Million USD in 2012, can afford to invest in better scrubbers, filtration, etc. in the manufacturing process. It is a business write-off besides.

              As I read this news in the US, in the UK, and Germany, this company recently relocated from a business-only zone in a different city, to a mixed business-residential area of Irwindale, California.

              The pre-existing neighbourhood didn't move in next to the company as the result of urban sprawl, it's actually the other way around.

              The company recently moved in next to a residential neighbourhood, and has created the new problem. Imagine the smell and your eyes on a hot summer day.

              Siracha needs to take steps to meet or exceed the city, county, and state health and safety regulations. It is not up to the company to decide how much equipment, or the type used to control the odours and fumes from the process.

              Siracha is a pretty popular product, but fermenting garlic and chile on a large industrial scale would be very noxious unless controlled. Like tear gas. Looking at the videos, I would say they have actually increased manufacturing capacity from the former location, in the move to Irwindale.

              It is evident that Siracha missed doing their homework completely on this relocation, and the process effect on the neighbourhood. They have the ability to work it out with the city, and to satisfy the neighbours.

              9 Replies
              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                I expect the large trucks arriving with tons of chilies are not too fragrant coming through the neighborhood. You are exactly right, someone didn't do their homework. I'm guessing the easiest solution would be for the plant owner to purchase the nearby homes, even if it cost a few million. There is no easy answer.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Bins of raw chiles in the market have no discernible odor that I've ever smelled. Why would raw chiles in a truck cause a problem?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I'm guessing that the weight and vibration of tons of them in a truck would break some up a bit. I live in Bradenton, home of Tropicana, and there is an orange scent when driving behind a truckload of oranges, but I know the comparison is apples and oranges. Well, almost.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      I'm assuming that the chiles in the bins at markets were trucked in with the same vibrations and load sizes at some point. They really don't seem to give off any fumes or odor there, so I doubt that those being delivered to the Sriracha plant would be any different in the raw state.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Markets are usually buying a few boxes - the sriracha plant has massive inbound uncovered loads of many tons. I though I noted in one article a problem with that, not sure. It would be best for all it that were not the case, as it would be the most difficult to attenuate.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          "Markets are usually buying a few boxes..."

                          Right. But when those chiles left the growers fields on the way to market they were being trucked in huge loads to their wholesale facility destination. Just pointing out that whether they are going to the Sriracha plant, or eventually to my supermarket, they get the same treatment in terms of transport agitation at some point on their journey.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Probably, but not and endless caravan traveling through residential neighborhoods. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. I have sympathy for both the fox and the hound.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              My main point on the handling issue you raised is that I would expect some type of odor or fumes, however faint it might be, to be given off by the raw chiles at my market when I stand over the bin and inhale (based on the similarity of trucking/handling of the chiles going from grower to either wholesale distributor or to the Sriracha plant). There is none.

                              That makes me believe that trucking raw chiles doesn't cause the odor to be released for either the neighbors of the Sriracha plant or the customers at the supermarket.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                I hope you are right. I'm sure the truck traffic is bothersome. When residential is adjacent to industrial, fur can fly.