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Sriracha Emissions


Among the many products we probably don’t actively think of as having a major pollution impact in Sriracha.

But in Irwindale, where the hot sauce’s production facilities are, residents are complaining of burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches caused by a powerful, painful odor that the city says appears to be emanating from the factory during production. The smell is so aggressive that one family was forced to move a birthday party indoors after the spicy odor descended on the festivities, said Irwindale City Atty. Fred Galante.

The city of Irwindale filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, claiming that the odor was a public nuisance and asking a judge to stop production until the smell can be reduced.

“Given how long it’s going on, we had no choice but to institute this action,” Galante said.

Irwindale officals repeatedly met with representatives from Huy Fong Foods to discuss methods of reducing the odors, according to the suit. Huy Fong representatives cooperated at first but later denied there was an odor problem, saying their employees worked in similar olfactory settings without complaint, Galante said.

There’s obviously pretty serious emissions violations going on here. For that matter, the smell of fresh bread wafting outside of an industrial bakery also largely consists of emissions violations, but when it is chiles and fish sauce and such, that’s not good. This is why we need a vigorous regulation and inspection program. Sriracha is tasty, but we also need to make sure the people of Irwindale are protected from its byproducts.

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  • Well said, Erik.

    And, hey, everyone give Sambal Oelek a looksy.

    • Oh, I’m very big on Sambal Oelek. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the neighborhoods of its plants are also insalubrious for the residents; I don’t think that Indonesia is politically particularly good on such things.

      • Well, goddamn. I learned about Sambal Ulek from the Family Ex-Linguist (who was an Indonesianist back before she gave up tenure and became Ex-), and I think—which is to say, I have confected memories that purport to verify—that what I ate chez her in California had come from Indonesia or at least an Indonesian market; but, by gum, I just checked the bottle in my refrigerator, and it’s from the same Huy Fong facility in Irwindale. Bah, humbug.

        (So I slathered some on a couscous of leftover homegrown delicata squash, leftover lemon-broiled chicken [lemon contributed by our own, 40-year-old, potted dwarf lemon tree here in Massachusetts, which this year has outdone itself with a 36-lemon crop, and has to be thinned much further before bringing it in from the porch this weekend], and leftover red kidney beans. That’ll show’em.)

    • InnerPartisan

      And, hey, everyone give Sambal Oelek a looksy.

      Oh most definitely. It’s an invaluable part of my kitchen inventory, boosting both my chili and my goulash.

    • It is good stuff too. Here we use shito sauce on everything. It has chilies, ginger, garlic, fish, shrimp, palm oil, and spices in it.


      • InnerPartisan

        Man, that stuff sounds great. On the risk of provoking one of your infamous ramblecdotes about Ghana: Any idea where one could come by it in Europe? There are, luckily, a lot of Asian supermarkets here in Düsseldorf, but I don’t know any African ones.

        • I have never been to Duesseldorf. But, a quick Google search came up with this Ghanaian store there that has food items.


          • GoDeep

            When I lived in Gabon, Otto, I became hooked to their piment sauce. Since I’ve been back Stateside I haven’t lived anyplace w/ a large enough Central African population to get it. I especially crave it whenever there’s grilled fish being served.

      • toberdog

        I read this too quickly and saw “shit sauce.” Is that another name for “ketchup?”

  • ploeg

    And then there’s Greek yogurt pollution.

    • Yeah, basically the run off of any process which is being done at industrial strength is going to be disasterous. I was surprised that they ran out of uses for the recycled whey, though. When I lived in Nepal it was fed to the animals but the byproduct of making yogurt, butter, and ghee from a single herd of water buffallo just wasn’t that much. I’m pretty sure the whey was fed to the goats, though.

  • InnerPartisan

    the smell of fresh bread wafting outside of an industrial bakery also largely consists of emissions violations

    That’s a good point. There’s a fairly major cookie factory in my hometown (de Beukelaer, producers of the famous Prinzenrolle) and every year starting around October – when production gets ramped up for Christmas and the locally important holiday of St. Martin – the smell is definitely noticeable in large parts of town. When I was little, my mother used to tell me that “the angels started baking in heaven”.

    I never thought of that smell as “pollution” until now, even though it probably is. As much as I love Sriracha, I don’t think I could tolerate that kind of emission from one of their factories for very long.

    • Rigby Reardon

      Large parts of Bradenton, FL often smell like orange peel due to the Tropicana plant there. It doesn’t seem to have the same kind of unpleasant effects that the Sriracha fumes do, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a pleasant thing to smell.

      • GoDeep

        When I lived in Milwaukee fumes from the beer breweries just killed me. My eyes would water, sinuses congest, and throat constrict. Just horrible. Fortunately we didn’t actually live near them otherwise I never would’ve made it.

        • JoyfulA

          I used to transfer from a trolley to the El a block from Schmidt’s brewery. There was always a not-unpleasant odor of canned tomato soup cooking, which I attributed to the Campbell’s factory in Camden across the Delaware until somebody told me, “No, that’s beer.”

          • victoid

            One beautiful beer!

        • XMKE

          I don’t recall the breweries smelling much (I used to drive past both Miller on State St and Pabst on Highland Ave a lot, driving delivery truck, back when they still brewed beer there). What you probably smelled was Red Star Yeast in the Menomonee Valley south of downtown – they made the yeast for the breweries, and the smell traveled pretty far some days.

          Also Ambrosia Chocolate (where Dahmer worked) near the old Arena/Auditorium was pretty odiferous downtown at times.

          • Bufflars

            Yeah, you could always smell the yeast from Red Star while driving past this one certain spot on I-94, just west of Marquette.

            Reminds me of childhood.

        • HP

          As a kid in Milwaukee, I used to gag when we’d go past the breweries. Dad loved it. Today, I live quite near a Sam Adams brewery in Ohio, and it’s mostly odorless, except when they’re fermenting the wort, and I kind of like it.

          Cincinnati also has the elf-free Keebler factory, which smells like diabetes, and the DeKuyper plant just off the I-75. There’s nothing worse than the smell of industrial peach schnapps flavoring and diesel fumes.

          I worked on Mackinac Island for a couple of years after college, and to this day I can’t smell fudge without thinking of horseshit, or horseshit without thinking of fudge.

          • DrS

            industrial peach schnapps flavoring and diesel fumes.

            These are the same things, correct? Or at least made from same components.

          • Lymie

            I worked on Mackinac Island for a couple of years after college, and to this day I can’t smell fudge without thinking of horseshit, or horseshit without thinking of fudge.

            That is a comment for the ages – my kid loves the smell of her hockey bag, I don’t mind horse shit – what do you love to do?

            • Lymie

              oops, reverse quoting!

      • sc

        the Blommer Chocolate Factory just NW of downtown Chicago often makes all of downtown smell like fresh brownies. there were complaints recently about emissions…

        • GoDeep

          Esp from people who had recently been hitting the herb.

          • victoid

            Wouldn’t they have voiced grateful praise?

      • H. L. Mencken

        I visited Los Angeles recently and the whole place stank of orange blossoms.

        • Tyto

          Ah, those were the days. Now you have to go to Riverside for that.

      • JoyfulA

        I used to live near a dill pickle factory. Fortunately, the winds usually blew the odor away from me. Still, I haven’t eaten a dill pickle since then.

        The whole town of Hershey used to reek of chocolate. The smell was enhanced by the streetlights shaped and colored like Hershey kisses. It was all quite lovely during a visit to the amusement park (then free) or the other amenities endowed by Milton Hershey, but I wouldn’t have wanted to live there.

      • GFW

        When I used to travel to Jacksonville, FL there was this occasional strange smell downtown. I was told it was molasses processing across the river. Must have been quite a stench close up.

        • Julia Grey

          Jacksonville has cleaned up its act since I first visited in the late 70s. That horrible sulfuric smell that used to pervade the north side of the city is now gone.

          We used to get whiffs from the paper mill here when the wind set our way (not all that frequently), and that was absolutely gaggy. Eventually (90s sometime) they put scrubbers on the stacks and we no longer got the fug. Occasionally we’ll get a whiff if the scrubbers are temporarily out, and sometimes we’ll smell it faintly as we go by the plant (miles away from here).

          I suspect the Clinton administration encouraged these plants to clean up their odiferous emissions during that era.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      You’re lucky you didn’t live in the part of the country where your parents would comment “…that’s the smell of MONEY!”

      • knoxkp

        Very funny! I was thinking the same thing as I read through the comments. I’ve heard that expression so many times and hate that it’s used as an excuse for fouling the land – there’s a false argument in there that you can’t both have the manufacturing and an intact environment.
        I’m a Canadian who has lived and traveled through a lot of Canada’s less densely populated areas and of course that’s where they stick the pulp and paper mills. The effluent you see floating on the lakes and rivers in tandem with the smell makes you want to cry for any living thing nearby.

      • newsouthzach

        Pecunia olet, apparently.

    • When my dad was a kid, his school was downwind of the Cadbury factory in Birmingham. Apparently they had to close the windows on windier days to avoid mass distraction.

      • sibusisodan

        The Bourneville plant is awesome. And seriously drool-inducing. I did the tour only a few months ago.

        • I love that tour – especially the raw chocolate at the beginning.

    • efgoldman

      Years ago, I lived in Framingham, and commuted back and forth on the Mass Pike. The Wonder Bread factory was hard by the of ramp, and that crappy bread smelled so wonderful….

  • NonyNony

    For that matter, the smell of fresh bread wafting outside of an industrial bakery also largely consists of emissions violations

    As someone who once lived downwind of a WonderBread factory (I hesitate to call it a bakery, but I suppose it was) I would have loved it if someone had forced them to install airscrubbers on their noxious fumes.

    I don’t know how they managed to make the smell of baking bread something disgustingly stomach churning, but they managed it. I feel for those folks who have to live downwind of sriracha fumes.

    • Karen

      I once worked across the street from Butter Krust, the south Texas equivalent. I know exactly what you mean. There was a moldy, sour smell to it, that put me off baked goods for that entire three months.

    • Captain Splendid

      Came here to say the same thing. Was a smaller bread factory down the road from me, and the smell was not altogether pleasant.

      • JoyfulA

        Hmm. I lived across the street (well, actually more like we shared an alley) from one small bakery and one tiny bakery, which smelled lovely.

        Maybe the difference was that they baked mostly rye and pumpernickel breads.

    • M. Showperson

      In Orlando, next to I4, there is a Merita Bread factory. That particular stretch of I4 has some of the most onerous traffic–but everyone’s irritation lessened when Merita was baking. It was absolutely wonderful, the smell of that baking bread.

      Then the factory closed during the Hostess union strike that resulted in the monied overlords shutting down the company.

    • Rugosa

      I grew up a couple of blocks from the local Wonder Bread factory, and, yes, the smell was awful some days. I remember seeing an article about why the Wonder Bread smell was so unlike real bread – it was either the type of yeast or how they processed the bread – but a quick Google search didn’t bring it up.

  • Bufflars

    Unfortunately, odor emissions can be somewhat tricky to enforce. There are no federal regulations regarding odorous emissions, and in many jurisdictions, regulating odors are generally done through nuisance laws that can have odd or unrealistic enforcement requirements. The documentation of violations can be very difficult for the regulatory agencies, in part because some odor laws require that only regulators with “average” sensitivity to odors can read violations. This of course means that people who are sensitive to odors can be affected often, but the enforcement personnel may not be able to do anything about it.

    When I worked for a state environmental agency, we had perennial odor complaints against a large sugar refinery, but were unable to actually stick the company with a violation for over 15 years, because the odors were never strong enough to trip the enforcement mechanism, even though they were constantly affecting the nearby community.

    • Barry Freed

      My best friend in high school lived not far from a butterscotch factory and when the wind blew his direction you could really smell it. He hated the stuff with a passion.

      • g

        There’s a great description in one of E.L.Konigsberg’s childrens books – I forget which one, maybe “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth…” – where the characters live downwind of a candy factory. The spearmint days are good, lemon or strawberry is nice, but butterscotch was difficult to take.

    • DocAmazing

      There was once a barbecue in North Oakland called Flint’s. Some yuppie moved into the neighborhood and immedicately claimed to be oppressed by the odor of the smoky pork; he sued. Fortunately, he was laughed out of court.

    • My father is one of your federal counterparts (scientist, not a lawyer) and this agrees with his assessment of nuisance as an enforcement mechanism for emissions. Nice idea, just not terribly workable in reality.

    • Hogan

      If the residents are getting burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches, this probably goes beyond an odor problem.

      • DrDick

        Yep, capsaicin is nasty stuff and requires full hazmat handling in its pure state.

        • Yes, I have to admit that my first thought was this must be deadly for the actual workers.

          • DrDick

            If it will stop a charging grizzly in its tracks, it is not something to be dealt with lightly.

            • Dave

              Or make its poop smell spicy…

    • GoDeep

      No such thing as the sweet smell of success with them, huh?

    • J R in WV

      This reminds me of a story about a terrorist outbreak in London England not too long ago.

      People were overcome by poison gas, created by a Thai Grandma making more hot chili sauce for the family restaurant. Amazing the variation between cultures! Charring those chilis, produced fumes she thought were delicious smelling, but which the cockney thought was poisonous…

      • Porlock Junior

        Hey, I’ve been there! Thai Cottage in Soho, 34 D’Arblay Street. Not to be confused with the one in Houston. In fact, I try to go there whenever I’m in London, which is not often enough. A nice little hole-in-the-wall, pleasant people running it, decidedly popular. (I decline play at connoisseur or restaurant critic regarding Thai food.)

        It made the international press a few years ago, in some small way that managed to catch my eye, when the emergency squad showed up with their hazmat gear and broke down a door (apparently having approached from the wrong side and found a locked door). They were doing their annual run of their base hot sauce — that would be the restaurant, not the hazmat folks — involving slow roasting of a huge kettle of their favorite pepper. It was said that there were some new neighbors who got worried by perceiving tear gas in the air, and not unreasonably called the safety authorities. All settled amicably, as the English are so good at doing when they are in the mood.

    • efgoldman

      At one time, the industrial parts of North and East Cambridge, as well as nearby parts of Everett, Chelsea, and Charlestown, were full of candy factories. The smell of chocolate could be overwhelming, and not particularly pleasant.

    • Herbal Infusion Bagger

      Unlike sugar refinery odors, I’d have thought there’d be toxicity data for capsaicin which an agency could use as a basis for action, if they’re exceeding some fraction of the LoAEL (Lowest Adverse Effect Level).

      Capsaicin has a high boiling point, should it should be pretty easy to scrub out of emissions using a venturi scrubber or activated carbon.

  • rea

    We live near a cinnamon roll factory. You wouldn’t think that odor could get intensified to the point of being offensive, but it can .. .

    • Karen

      Too much of a good thing. I HATE shops that sell those “holiday” potpourris that smell like cinnamon, if the same company that made Napalm made cinnamon.

      • GoDeep

        I’ve lived in towns w/ large cinnamon roll bakeries as well & yeah it gets to be a bit much. Even chocolate factories.

        Pretty much anything in large quantities is malodorous.

      • I worked in a place that sold pine cones with that scent for Xmas, and the smell was very irritating.

        Gilroy, 30 miles south of San Jose, CA, has a few garlic processing plants, and it’s not unusual to be able to smell it if the wind is coming from the south, as it usually is during the summertime.

        • Tehanu

          I grew up in Salinas and the odor of fertilizer wafting through town is one of my strongest memories. Garlic would have been an improvement.

          • fresno

            Fertilizer is bad, giant poultry and hog farms are much much worse.

        • efgoldman

          We drove up from Anaheim to San Francisco in late August. I guess it was harvest time and maybe festival time. Even with the windows up and the a/c on it was kind of overwhelming. Couldn’t get thru there fastenough.

      • Origami Isopod

        The Necco plant in Cambridge always smelled vile. Some people disagree with me on that. Of course, I think Necco Wafers are vile.

        • dfinberg

          I lived literally next door to that plant for 2 years. The days it was going it could be pretty strong.

        • I love the smell of the necco plant–but I only walked by it occasionally. Necco wafers are awful but the smell wasn’t bad.

          • efgoldman

            Deran’s in Lechmere Square was pretty intense, too. My cousin worked in the office. She had two sets of clothes she kept in two different closets.
            BTW, when new workers were hired in the candy factories, they were told they could eat as much product as they wished. After a day or two, they didn’t eat any more.

  • oldster

    Huy Fong Foods is basically pepper-spraying a large population of Californians.

    Which means that Irwindale’s suit will result in the court’s awarding Huy Fong a very large sum of money for its emotional pain and suffering.

    • And that’s it for this thread.

    • Ha ha

    • Well done!

    • UserGoogol

      The story to which you refer didn’t really bother me. In the course of doing their job a person underwent injury. The fact that their job consisted of wrongly causing people injury should be irrelevant: two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • Julia Grey

    Couldn’t the actual hot pepper (capsaicin) component of the odor be cited? And couldn’t there be a limit on acid content of plant emissions?

    And do the employees actually work in ALL parts of the factory without ANY protective gear at all?
    Wow. Hardy folk indeed.

    • Julia Grey


    • Hogan

      No ventilation either.

    • charlie don’t surf

      Yeah, I used to live in downtown LA in the artist’s loft district, on the same block as a salsa factory. The smell of vinegar used to make my eyes water. Then the damn factory burned down and almost took out the entire block. Good riddance.

  • Crunchy Frog

    I spent part of childhood downwind of the factory that made “Red Hots” and “Lemon Drops”. They made candy batches every now and again, not every day, and when they made the Red Hots you couldn’t smell anything else but cinnamon. Not a problem with lemon drops – for all we knew they could have made those somewhere else.

    • TribalistMeathead

      Ferrara Pan?

      • Crunchy Frog

        Yep … forgot that name.

        • TribalistMeathead

          My grandmother used to live up Harlem from there. We would drive past all the time, but never when the factory was in production (it was probably in its death throes by my childhood).

      • kg

        yes, I used to pass it on the eisenhower expy. horrible smell

  • Bitter Scribe

    …saying their employees worked in similar olfactory settings without complaint…

    Yes, because they’re used to it.

    I once toured a factory that made frozen fried onion rings. Entering the slicing area was like getting tear-gassed. The plant manager told me that a lot of the workers don’t step outside for lunch, because once the fresh air flushed out their sinuses, they would have to get acclimated to the onions all over again.

    • I was cutting onions for a meal for homeless teens yesterday and quietly sobbing when the woman next to me began reminscing about the machines they used to peel onions on a kibbutz she’d worked on for a year. She said she made the mistake of sticking her head over the peeling machine and breathing in once and was sick and incapacitated for a solid week.

    • NonyNony

      Yes, because they’re used to it.

      Also because they’re paid to work in that environment.

      “You’re going to get paid to work in this mildly toxic environment” is a completely different thing from “we’re going to make the air around your house mildly toxic” and, surprisingly, leads to different expectations.

  • Francis

    And then there’s the tuna processing plant on Terminal Island in the LA Harbor. When I visited clients at the Federal prison there, ugh. There’s something about fish processing that’s just utterly nauseating.

    • DrS

      I think it’s the rotting fish guts

      • Hogan

        That would do it.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Mmmmmm. Garum

        • ChrisTS

          Ugh. Back in my classicist days, I studied Roman foods and cooking. Gack. Of course, if your meat is already ‘off,’ covering it in salty-‘fermented’ fish guts is not a bad idea. And, of course, a honey-roasted mouse for dessert.

          • ruviana

            Lark’s vomit.

    • marijane

      I spent five years living in the vicinity of the John Morrell meat packing plant in Sioux Falls. I thought that was the worst thing I’d ever smelled, but this… this sounds worse.

  • Lurking Ken

    Long ago, I used commute by and occasionally work in a Jolly Rancher Hard Candy factory in Golden CO. The Apple flavor was OK even in industrial strength, but the Watermelon was sickening. Go figure.

  • GoDeep

    Yeah, but I bet if this was a Ketchup Factory, there’d be no problems!

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    When I was growing up in the Bay Area, there was a neighborhood in Oakland near a ketchup plant that used to get “rained” on by a red, liquid, highly acidic ketchup waste product. It apparently did a real number on car paint.

    • Alan Tomlinson

      That was the DelMonte plant.


      Alan Tomlinson

      P.S. Apropos pain and spice, I worked for a common carrier that shipped products for McCormick/Stange. You haven’t lived until you’ve walked into an enclosed trailer filled with polyethylene-lined fiber drums filled with 16,000 pounds of cayenne. Any illusions you might have about polyethylene being air-tight vanish in that moment.

      • efgoldman

        I worked as a loading dock supervisor briefly. We didn’t carry anything as intense as Cayenne, but a truckload of Bell’s seasoning could clear you out pretty good.
        And there was the time the fork lift driver wasn’t paying attention, and took out most of the bottom row of a palletload of gallons of vanilla syrup. Too much of anything….

  • Based on the title I thought Loomis was suffering from indigestion.

    • Origami Isopod

      Yeah, I came in here and thought, “What, 30 comments and nobody’s made the requisite fart joke yet?”

      • Baby Needs-A-Nym

        Perhaps it’s because Jonah Goldberg is not involved.

      • TribalistMeathead

        There’s nothing funny about a Sriracha fart.

        • Where would you place it on the Fart/Shart spectrum?

          • DocAmazing


        • Origami Isopod

          Sure there is… when you’re not in the room.

  • Matt_L

    Irwindale is (was) also home to a Miller brewery. That stank to high heaven. Its also crummy beer.

    • A smug LA Hipster

      Miller: The champagne of bottled beers. Second only to PBR in my too-loudly-discussed-at-the-table-next-to-you-in-a-painfully-hip-Silverlake-pseudo-dive-bar pantheon of beers.

    • Tyto

      Isn’t the brewery still there? If not, you can from some distance feast on the smell of the rubber particulates from the speedway.

  • BlueLoom

    For that matter, the smell of fresh bread wafting outside of an industrial bakery also largely consists of emissions violations,

    Ahh, now that brings back memories. When I was a child and we went to Washington Senators games (First in War, First in Peace, and last in the American League), the commercial bakery across Georgia Avenue from the stadium was always starting the next days’ bread baking just when we would be leaving the stadium. Almost took the sting out of losing…and losing…and losing…

    • I was just about to mention the Hostess factory. I had a babysitter who lived behind the thing and I loved the smell.

  • njorl

    I drove through Hershey PA, once. It smelled just like the world is supposed to smell.

    • g

      I was on a theatrical tour that played Hershey. You sure could smell it! Our stage manager was terribly allergic to nuts, and on the day they roasted almonds, she had to stay in a hotel out of town.

  • delurking

    When I was little, we lived in a trailer park a few blocks from the factory that packed (or maybe roasted? I was really young — we moved when I was five or six) CDM Coffee in New Orleans. I still remember waking up every morning to that wonderful smell.

    But coffee’s not a smell you can get tired of maybe.

    • wjts

      I’ve worked in a couple of coffee shops in my time, and I assure you it’s entirely possible to get sick of the smell of coffee.

      • snoe

        And sour milk. Yech.

      • ChrisTS

        Don’t candle shops have coffee beans on hand to refresh customers’ olefaction after they have sniffed 5 or 6 Pumpkin Spice Apple Autumn candles?

    • Porlock Junior

      I don’t get tired of the smell of coffee, not liking it in the first place. But *roasting* coffee beans are another matter entirely.

      And the west end of the Bay Bridge, in my childhood and for decades after — surely some people here remember the coffee companies doing their thing there? Now there was a proper entry to a city. Take your madeleines and put them someplace, M. Proust; time for me to write a remembrance of Key System trains past.

  • There are lawsuits going on in KY against bourbon manufacturers. If you ever see a picture of a rickhouse (where they age the barrels) that’s painted white, you’d wonder if it was fire-damaged– there are black streaks on all the walls around anywhere that vents. Those streaks are mold that feeds on the sugar and alcohol that evaporates out of the barrels during aging. Neighbors are suing saying the mold is making them ill.

    I don’t doubt it, but neither do I doubt that the KY courts will make short work of these lawsuits. Reports are filtered through the bourbon fan community (of which I am a member), who all express derision at the idea that there is any sort of issue from the mold, or note that it’s always been there and ask why the complaints are occurring now.

    • sibusisodan

      Reports are filtered through the bourbon fan community (of which I am a member)

      If there aren’t sharp disagreements within the community as to how those reports should filter through, I for one will be sorely disappointed.

      • Karen

        I see what you did there.

    • GoDeep

      I think the reason ppl are just now complaining is b/cs until the last decade or so ppl didn’t fully realize how badly mold impacted health. To be honest, my own mother has had a mold allergy for over 30yrs & I didn’t realize how deep & widespread the health issues from mold could be. Thank God I don’t have it.

  • g

    This story is a little sad to read because I’ve always thought that the Huy Fong foods story was a great small-business story. Hope they do right by their town.

    Of course, they could move down the road to Vernon, CA where the Farmer John pork processor is, and I don’t imagine the 13 or so ‘residents’ of Vernon would oppose them much.

  • http://petergreenberg.com/2008/11/17/dont-go-there-5-stinky-places/

    I have been to The City of Five Smells. It’s gross.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      the old Penick and Ford plant (corn starch, I believe) was *wicked*

    • marijane

      I lived there for eight months while on an engineering co-op about 15 years ago. It’s worse than that article makes it sound, even, because being in Iowa, there are also a fair number of hog lots in the vicinity.

  • Captain Bringdown

    I live in New Jersey. We refer to days characterized by “burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches caused by a powerful, painful odor” days that end in “Y.”

  • I can’t be the only resident fogey old enough to have lived (sometimes) downwind of an urban stockyard/slaughterhouse, can I?

    • Chilly

      Don’t know if this helps alleviate the fogeyness, but my mom grew up on the south side of Chicago during the 40s and 50s. I hear when the wind shifted the wrong way, it was about unlivable.

    • DrS

      I lived in the dorm closest to the dairy barn my freshman year in college.

      • Julia Grey

        Hey! My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and I don’t remember thinking the barn was all that gross. It was a little stinky, I guess, but not anything horrible. I’ve been in state fair livestock tents that smelled a lot worse.

        Of course, Grandpa’s were entirely hay- and grass-fed cows. I wonder if feeding them grain or corn would have made their…effluent…more noxious? Or the barns you lived next to weren’t properly mucked out or ventilated or were overcrowded? Gpa’s spring house had to be scrubbed every afternoon, and the cans (and milking machines he eventually got) had to be sterilized…. We had cats to keep the vermin out, which also might have helped.

        (I remember picking up DRY cow patties out of the fields and sniffing them. They didn’t smell like much of anything to me. They smelled kind of…I don’t know….brown? dirt-like? But CLEAN dirt, if you know what I mean. But maybe I was just used to “farm” smells.)

  • Davis X. Machina

    The Burnham and Morrill plant (B&M baked beans) in Portland, ME has gotten into trouble a couple of times. There is an official city ‘nose’ to ride herd on them.

    • PSP

      When I lived on Munjoy Hill, I used love it when the wind was blowing from the right direction and the B&M factory was opening the cookers. But, I can see it being overpowering if you were right next door.

  • Informant

    In Denver we can get the smell of the Purina plant north of downtown when the wind is right or there’s a temperature inversion. It’s usually not bad, but sometimes it smells like you stuck your head inside a bag of dog food.

    • My version of hell would be living next to a canned cat food plant.

      • TribalistMeathead

        While subsisting on a diet of hot dogs with ketchup and vodka martinis?

        • weirdnoise

          Wouldn’t ketchup and vodka be a bloody mary, not a martini?

          • Hogan

            Needs more sriracha.

          • Julia Grey

            Wouldn’t ketchup and vodka be a bloody mary, not a martini?

            :: stifled giggle ::

  • Gypsy Howell

    Slackers. Try living in the Mushroom Capital of the World.

    You know how they grow mushrooms, right?

    • Mart

      I collected the waste products at Chicago area horse racing establishments that went downstate to mushroom farms. Great salary – basically paid for my college. There was a recession then. Out of work men would show up with a family really needing the work, and leave an hour later due to the smell. I would tell them after a week the smell goes away, but it made no difference.

  • Mart

    There are plenty of ways to get rid of industrial smells, just need to spend the money to install and maintain equipment. One factory I tour makes specialized animal feed and the conversion process has a smell that is beyond description in its nastiness. They built a “swamp” with bugs that like to eat the by-products that has essentially remedied the smell in the neighborhood. Touring the inside is not so cool though. I itch and blow shit out my nose the whole way home. Workers in these environments generally get “acclimated”, or they quit in a few hours to a week.

  • DN

    Sometimes I hate Eric cause he’s wrong and sometimes I just hate him. Sirachi – how can you do this to me. The sauce of god. I hate you now.

    • ChrisTS

      If you sauce your god, I assume you eat the god as well? Polytheism?

      • witless chum

        This is a religion I could perhaps embrace.

        Hail cheesecake!

        • I am a wasabiist.

  • BruceJ

    Part of the issues are even the nice smells can be pollutiing. A bakery is generally nice smelling, but a major component of baking emissions is ethanol, which contributes to ozone pollution. Ozone in the upper atmosphere == good, ozone down here == bad.

    • ChrisTS

      Even the nice smells can be overwhelming. I moved a lilac this summer because its scent was overwhelming my husband’s cigar stink – which he savors.

  • Curtis

    I live in the country, so all I ever smell is manure.

    • jeer9

      Dairy farms are truly nausea-inducing, though nothing surpasses the small mining community of Trona outside of Death Valley.

  • John Costello

    I went to college in Northfield, MN. When the wind came from the west, it smelled like breakfast cereal from the Malt-o-Meal plant. When it came from the north — hog farm.

    • Julia Grey

      Hog farms are INFINITELY worse than dairy farms for smell factor. See my post upthread regarding my grandfather’s dairy farm. I never thought it stank all that much.

      Then again, I lived about 100 yards from the milking barn. Maybe I was too used to it.

  • PopeRatzy

    Irwindale could just pay Huy Fong $10,000,000.00 and offer to move them to an old Quarry. Then spend another $10,000,00.00 in legal fees and environmental studies.

  • Lymie

    And for noise pollution – the local organic farm woke me up last night with their corn drier. sigh. It will not be popular to complain.

  • Anonymous

    Texas to Irwindale, CA: C’MON DOWN!!!!

    Denton, Texas City Councilman Kevin Roden began a campaign to bring Sriracha to his city in Northeast Texas Wednesday posting an “open letter” on his website.

    The hashtag #sriracha2denton created a firestorm in the community of 113,000, including 48,000 college students. He said Sriracha’s “hipster credibility” meshes well with the city’s creative community.

    He said there are a number of industrial sites in the city located far away from residential neighborhoods, so the chili odor that has affected Irwindale residents should not be an issue.

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