Hot mess: Sriracha shipments halted until January; may result in shortage

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

(slide show of the factory where Sriracha is made)

There’s another setback for the manufacturers of Sriracha: The company has been ordered to halt shipments of the popular hot sauce until January, meaning that shoppers could face a shortage of the signature red condiment heading into the new year.

"It's a disaster," Damon Chu, president of Giant Union Co., told the San Jose Mercury News. "We've done business with them for 20 years and we've never had this kind of thing before. We get shipments every 2-5 days and we never had any doubt of them saying they don't have it so we don't store that much."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Sriracha manufacturer Huy Fong Foods cannot send out anymore shipments of the sauce until mid-January after the California Department of Health’s new regulations brought a halt to the company’s output for 35 days.

Chu said his company, an Asian foods supplier, could lose $300,000 in the production halt.

"We have already received more than 30 angry phone calls today," he told the Times. "It drives me crazy because this is the first time we have been in this situation."

It’s been a tough month for Huy Fong Foods. In November, the company made headlines after its Irwindale-based plant was the source of complaints from local residents who described “noxious fumes” emanating from the plant.

Irwindale sued the company over the issue, and local residents have said the fumes have resulted in health issues.

At the time, Huy Fong said it did not anticipate production delays. But on Wednesday, the company acknowledged that it is out of stock and unable to make any more shipments.

Not only does the production-halt affect individual shoppers who like to add the sauce to their meals, but it also affects countless restaurants, including sushi restaurants that use the sauce in the preparation of popular dishes like spicy tuna rolls.