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Ruling on hot sauce factory raises job worries

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013, file photo, Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. A judge has given a dose of cold water to the hot sauce Sriracha, ruling Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, that the factory that manufactures the trendy condiment must partially shut down after neighbors complained of the spicy smells it was producing. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013, file photo, Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. A judge has given a dose of cold water to the hot sauce Sriracha, ruling Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, that the factory that manufactures the trendy condiment must partially shut down after neighbors complained of the spicy smells it was producing. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

A judge has ordered a plant that produces the popular Sriracha chili sauce to stop emitting annoying odors – a ruling that left some nearby residents worried about a possible loss of jobs at the factory.

Judge Robert O’Brien ruled in favor of the city of Irwindale, where Sriracha recently relocated, saying sauce maker Huy Fong Foods must stop any operations that could be causing the odors and make unspecified changes to mitigate them.

The company had no immediate comment, but a few neighbors interviewed dismissed the complaints and worried that jobs might be lost if the plant is forced to close.

“I don’t want it shut down because I think a lot of people will lose their jobs,” said Marta Torres, 47. “In two years it has never smelled as much as now, but I think it’s okay.”

Torres said the smell wafts into her home late in the day. “It’s something you can deal with,” she said. “It doesn’t bother us.”

O’Brien’s injunction was issued in response to a lawsuit filed Oct. 21 by Irwindale.

It wasn’t immediately known if the food company plans to appeal.

The company has said there is no reason to close the plant now because harvest season and the subsequent grinding of red-hot jalapeno peppers – the key ingredient of the sauce – have passed.

As a result, the injunction might not have an immediate affect on the company’s production or the nation’s hot sauce supply as Huy Fong continues its year-round mixing and bottling.

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