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Sriracha invites potential suitors to factory amid smell battle

April 22, 2014|By Frank Shyong | Los Angeles Times

After months of heated negotiations with the city of Irwindale over the smell of Sriracha hot sauce, Huy Fong Foods Chief Executive David Tran is appealing to a higher power: a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Los Angeles) visited the hot sauce factory Tuesday and spoke with Tran about potentially relocating to the San Fernando Valley. Cardenas is one of dozens of politicians nationwide who have publicly invited Sriracha to locate within their jurisdiction. Offers have poured in from Alabama, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico and West Virginia.

Last week, Tran signaled his intent to consider relocating his factory and invited potential suitors to pay a visit. Cardenas was one of the first. His own experience of the odor was pleasant, Cardenas said.

"Full disclosure, they weren't in chile grinding mode...but it was a mild smell in my opinion," Cardenas said.

Cardenas said he believes that it's the public's "heightened awareness" of the factory that is generating complaints, not a harmful odor. 

"It's nowhere near the level that some people are saying," Cardenas said.

Cardenas and Tran also discussed some federal tax incentives for companies that export a certain proportion of their product overseas - which Huy Fong Foods does - but they did not identify any sites for relocation or discuss any specifics of a deal.

"There's lots of places in Socal, and Tran provides more than 200 jobs making a nationally and internationally recognized product," Cardenas said. 

Cardenas clarified that it's jobs he's concerned about, not access to hot sauce - his spicy condiment of choice is actually Cholula. 

"But Sriracha's in the top five," Cardenas said. 

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frank.shyong@latimes.com

Twitter: @frankshyong

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