Skip to comments.#Srirachapocalypse? Sriracha hot sauce shortage begins as sales halted
Posted on 12/12/2013 4:20:17 AM PST by Aunt Polgara
IRWINDALE>> The famous rooster sauce is in short supply this month thanks to a new state regulation that requires manufacturer Huy Fong Foods to hold its Sriracha for 30 days before shipping it.
Officials with the California Department of Public Health said a rule change affecting the companys production procedure for Sriracha and its other two sauces became necessary after government officials reviewed the manufacturing process earlier this year.
The regulations outlining this process have been in existence for years, but the modified production requirements were established for the firm this year, state Health Department spokeswoman Anita Gore said in a written statement.
Because Sriracha is not cooked, only mashed and blended, Huy Fong needs to make sure its bottles wont harbor dangerous bacteria.
The hold took effect on Monday, so Huy Fong cant ship any of its product until the middle of January. This means a shortage of supply for many of the companys customers.
Its a disaster, said Damon Chu, president of Giant Union Co. Weve done business with them for 20 years and weve never had this kind of thing before. We get shipments every two to five days and we never had any thought of them saying they dont have it, so we dont store that much.
Chu said his Whittier-based company, which ships out the three different Huy Fong sauces to wholesale distributors, has no Sriracha left. The impending shortage could affect businesses that serve everything from spicy tuna rolls to hot dogs and pizza.
Many of Chus customers are already upset about the Sriracha shortage.
We have contracts with them and if we dont supply it they are going to sue us, Chu said. We are trying to convince them its not our fault. We are kind of nervous.
Donna Lam, executive operations officer for Huy Fong Foods, said the company has been fighting stricter regulations, but gave in this week.
Its not a bad product, thats not the issue. Its strictly regulations, Lam said. Were back ordered as it is but now we have to tell customers we arent sending anything until mid-January.
Lam said the company has been saddled with the hold rule since it began production at its 650,000 square foot factory in Irwindale. Previously the spicy condiment had been manufactured for 30 years in Rosemead.
The shipping halt is just the latest in a series of setbacks for the chili sauce giant. Huy Fong is in the midst of a legal battle with the city of Irwindale after residents complained of odors coming from the factory. An L.A. judge ordered the company to stop production unless they could reduce the smell.
Despite the panic by some distributors, others werent too concerned.
Eric Greenspan, chef at The Foundry in Los Angeles, said he loves the famous rooster sauce, but would be able to get by if there were a temporary shortage.
If I have to mix Tabasco and ketchup for a day or two I will, said Greenspan, who participated in this years first ever L.A. Sriracha Festival.
Greenspan said he thinks the Sriracha crisis is getting a bit extreme.
This much stuff doesnt happen to a condiment all at once, its farcical, Greenspan said. Im not saying its a conspiracy theory, but Im saying its a conspiracy theory. How come mayonnaise has never had this problem?
A more competent government entity would have phased in the 30 day rule to avoid the massive disruption to supply.
With sufficient notice, the customers could have increased their stocks a bit.
The manufacturer could have increased it’s production to ride through the new requirement.
But no... They have to implement the 30 day rule all at once causing a market shortage and a fake bust/boom cycle.
Idiots. They be idiots.
Were there even any ‘incidents’ to back up this government demand?
I love the “stuff” and have stacked up a supply before the nanny state struck. Any medical or biology folks out there that could specify what bacteria or virus could use this hot sauce as a growth medium?
Soon to follow will be the IRS, EPA, OSHA, DEA, ICE, ...etc.
If they sold out to Kraft or Heinz or one of the other big conglomerates their problems would disappear over night.
I wonder if the owners of Huy Fong Foods had the temerity to donate to Republicans? Or, even worse, TEA Party folk?
Move to Texas. Now.
My understanding is the city council is of one persuasion and owner didn’t play along. Wonder if Sharpton/Jackson learned anything from this.
No problem. I'm sure in a few more years California's remaining factories will be just like Detroit's; shuttered. No problem with any nasty aromas... well, except for decay.
With a hat tip to RAH, "In a mature society, civil servant is semantically equal to civil master." Note that there is no requirement in any government job description for 'common sense' ( a commodity generally lacking in your average government regulator!)
Noticed that Trader Joe’s sells sriracha. Must give it a try...
Looks like some one will have to step up and replace the hot cock.
The left could **** up a wet dream.
Subway was offering sandwiches with this stuff, what do they do now?
Good ol’ local Thai village breakfast .... big ol bowl full of nice steamed rice, a little rooster sauce, and a cup of coffee. All for 35 cents ... 1972 price index a.k.a. 7 baht.
There are only about 2,500 residents, overwhelmingly non-immigrant Hispanic Democrats. The town is run like a big HOA.
I'm not aware of any political leanings of the owner, but I suspect that, like many hard working immigrants here, he isn't involved in politics, which might be a big part of his problem.
And all of you are correct. CA is doing its best to drive business out of the state.
The article sure wasn't written very well, was it? What good would it do to delay shipment? If the health dept was concerned about some health issue, how could waiting a month solve the issue? Makes no sense.
Petty bureaucratic bastards.
I love this stuff.
Looks like whatever incentives Irwindale offered were fraud. I would call up Rosemead and reopen that factory.
I bought a large bottle for $2.55 last month only because it was on sale...so I am all set. I like Sriracha because it is not super hot. Tabasco is harsh vinegary crap compared to Sriracha.
Tapatio is a good hot sauce and same for Cholula...both are full body and hot. But not too hot
Saw it on the shelf a few days before Thanksgiving. Bought two bottles. That was before the snows hit.
Simple answer..move the factory to another state and leave the idiots in California without the jobs or the tax revenue. I am sure Texas would welcome Huy Fong Foods with open arms, give them a ready local market and not tax them to death.
Some competitor or other ill-wisher is using the goobermint to hassle Huy Fong.
There’s nothing wrong with their product or their production and packaging method. They sell gazillions of bottles of the stuff. I have never heard one single complaint about anybody getting sick off their product.
This is “crony capitalism” at its most disgusting, or as Adam Smith called it back in 1776, “mercantilism”.
CA is the gift that keeps on giving. /s
“...The government and regulators of kalifornia are known to most of the rest of the country to cause high blood pressure, sore forehead from the ‘not this 5h1t again’ head-smack, and a general sense of malaise due to the wearysome amount of stupidity that emanates from that western idiocysink...”
The left could **** up a wet dream.
The "have there been any incidents" question is still valid. I don't know of any samples, at any time or age, that showed a harmful bacteria level. The inspectors are applying their cookie-cutter formula. Not cooked? Hold 30 days, then inspect, then (if it passes) ship.
What happened to the raceway?
Move to OK....we would love it!!
“What happened to the raceway?”
The Irwindale Raceway is still there.
My guess is a neighbor of the new factory.