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For nine months, the Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale has been locked in a contentious dispute with its most famous resident, the Sriracha chili-sauce factory and its founder, Huy Fong Foods CEO David Tran. In October, Irwindale filed suit against Huy Fong Foods after residents complained that fumes from pepper-crushing at the plant were leaking out and burning their eyes and throats, forcing them to stay indoors. In April, the City Council declared the Sriracha plant a public nuisance and gave it three months to tamp down the pungent odors.
That's when things really got hot, with Tran comparing the city government to communist Vietnam and other states (notably Texas) swooping in to woo Huy Fong away from Irwindale. Things started cooling down on Tuesday, when city officials toured the Sriracha plant, with encouragement from Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) office. On Wednesday night, the Irwindale City Council voted unanimously to drop its lawsuit and the public nuisance declaration.
What did Sriracha give up? Tran pledged to make sure his factory's beefed-up air filtration system works. Irwindale will find out if it does in August, when pepper-crushing season begins again. For now, it looks like Sriracha 1, Irwindale, 0. Not that anyone's keeping score.