Sriracha Factory Not Headed to Texas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Representatives from Texas were in Irwindale on Monday as they attempt to lure the Sriracha plant to Texas. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Irwindale for the NBC4 News at 6 on Monday, May 12, 2014. (Published Monday, May 12, 2014)

    The maker of the popular Sriracha hot sauce says he has no intention of moving his embattled factory out of Irwindale, California, but he has told two visiting Texas lawmakers he might consider expanding into the Lone Star State.

    A Texas delegation of politicians, including Rep. Jason Villalba (R), visited Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods' owner David Tran in Southern California on Monday, hoping to lure the next hot deal to Texas.

    David Tran spoke to reporters Monday after giving the politicians a tour of his factory, which some neighbors say emits offensive odors.

    "I feel very happy, now I have a lot of support," Tran said.

    Irwindale city leaders have tentatively declared the plant a public nuisance, leading other cities and states to urge Tran to relocate his business and jobs.

    "That doesn't happen in my state," Villalba said.

    The Irwindale City Council is scheduled to vote on finalizing the nuisance declaration on Wednesday, but there's a staff recommendation to delay the vote another two weeks.

    Tran believes he'll have the odor issue resolved by June 1.

    Tran has said publicly he will not be pushed out of business. "Why [do] you hate me? Why [do] you want to shut me down?" he asked Irwindale's city council last month, at a meeting on the plant's future. "Tell me what I need to correct," he said afterward, speaking with reporters.

    The plant employs up to 1,000 people, according to Villalba – jobs he hoped to bring to North Texas.  The delegation also involves a contingent from South Texas, a location politicians said would be an ideal climate to grow the sauce’s spicy peppers.

    Chili pepper farmer Craig Underwood has been to sole provider for Huy Fong Foods for 25 years, starting with 50 acres and expanding to 2,000.

    "Whenever (David Tran) wants more acreage, we have to go out and find it," Underwood said. "There's some challenges in going to Texas...it's whether the climate's right for what we need."

    Underwood believes the chili pepper used for the sriracha and the spicy garlic paste may not survive the Rio Grande Valley.

    Texas is not the only state that has expressed interest in wooing Huy Fong Foods. It is believed that some in Pennsylvania are also interested in the hot sauce maker.

    City leaders from Denton, Texas will travel to meet with Huy Fong Foods next week to discuss relocating the company to the city.

    It was a Twitter campaign by city councilman Kevin Roden that began the push to bring the company to Texas back in October.

    Roden said even if they find the city is not a good match for the company, they hope to help the state’s efforts in luring them.

    Tran said he's not ready to make a decision. His top priority is maintaining the quality of his product.

    "If we have chili, then we can build the plant, without the chili we cannot build the plant," Tran said.

     

    John Cádiz Klemack and Samia Khan contributed to this report.

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