Texas to Sriracha: You pass our smell test

Texas lawmakers are hoping to lure Sriracha hot sauce maker Huy Fong Foods out of California to the Lone Star state.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  May 12, 2014 at 5:59 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- If Califonia doesn't want Sriracha, Texas will be glad to have it.

That was the message, loud and clear, from a delegation of Texas lawmakers, who on Monday toured Huy Fung Foods, the California-based maker of the hot sauce with a cult following.

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, led a delegation to meet with David Tran at his Irwindale, Calif., factory in the hopes of convincing him to relocate his $80 million business to the Lone Star state.

"I am confident this group will be able to communicate to Mr. Tran and his colleagues at Huy Fong Foods the benefit of conducting business in the Lone Star State where frivolous litigation is not businesses as usual and we work with companies to create jobs and opportunity for all," Villalba said in a statement.

The move is the latest in Texas Gov. Rick Perry's effort to encourage companies from California to head east by dangling incentives and touting lighter regulations. Toyota's recent decision to move its headquarters from Torrance, Calif., to Plano, Texas, is the biggest victory so far.

And while Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown recently struck back, announcing a $750 million program aimed at keeping California's businesses where they are, Huy Fong Food's problems go far beyond financial incentives.

Irwindale, a town of less than 1,500 people east of Los Angeles, has been loudly complaining of the smell emanating from Huy Fong's 2-year-old factory. In April, Irwindale's city council declared the factory a public nuisance after the smell of the thousands of chili peppers needed to make Sriracha caused residents to complain.

An official vote, to take place Wednesday, would give Huy Fong 90 days to fix the smell or shut down operations.

Tran, for his part, has said he has no plans to move his factory out of California, although he did indicate he would be open to expanding to an additional site outside the area.

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