Sriracha distribution on hold for 30 days after health inspection


The hold means that restaurants and stores will not get their hands on Sriracha until mid-January.

The makers of the fiery sauce, Huy Fong Foods, received the stop-shipment order after state officials reviewed the way the sauce was produced. The company began following the stricter guidelines this week.

According to the CDPH, the hold is to ensure the effective treatment of micro-organisms in the product. In a statement to Eyewitness News, the agency explained that the change was necessary to ensure the product is safe throughout its entire shelf-life.

"Generally speaking, acidified foods that are not prepared using a thermal process (heat step) must use an alternative method of controlling micro-organisms that may be present in the food product. Holding products for a period of time at a specified pH level is one method of controlling those micro-organisms," the statement read.

News of the hold has die-hard Sriracha fans scrambling to stock up on the iconic red bottles with the green tops.

"I heard it on the news yesterday, and I was at an account, and I bought myself 12 bottles," said Daryl Walter of Culver City.

For one Crafts Services employee, the month-long shipment hold could cause drama.

"I think it's going to be a problem. There's a lot of people out there who love it, and I think they're going to have a problem trying to spice up their food without it," said Eddie Doty of Valencia.

This is the second setback for the company in recent weeks. The city of Irwindale, where the sauce is made, is suing the company because of the smell emitted from the plant. Residents say the odor is so strong that it makes their eyes burn and compromises their breathing.

The odors are only produced during pepper-grinding season, which extends from August until late October or early November.

Last month, a judge ordered Huy Fong to stop producing the smells until air-quality experts can determine how to mitigate them.

Huy Fong Foods uses 100 million pounds of peppers a year to make the sauce. The plant does have exhaust fans on the roof for ventilation, and Huy Fong Foods says it passed a recent inspection by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

With the last couple of incidents, Walter said he's taking inventory of his supply and may be in the giving spirit come the holidays.

"I am going to give it away as stocking stuffers and make sure that I have enough to last for the next year," he said.

A Ralphs grocery store in Hollywood was already sold out of the popular condiment Thursday morning.

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