LIVING
04/24/2014 02:58 EDT | Updated 06/24/2014 05:59 EDT

Sriracha controversy continues as fight between US city, hot sauce maker delayed

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A cooling-off period has been called in the fight between the makers of Sriracha hot sauce and the Southern California city that says its air is too spicy to bear.

The Irwindale City Council delayed a decision for two weeks Wednesday night on declaring the Sriracha plant a public nuisance.

About 100 supporters of the hot sauce, including Huy Fong Foods owner David Tran, rallied outside City Hall before the meeting.

Irwindale's city attorney requested the delay, saying he's in settlement talks with attorneys for the company, which has made the popular sauce since 1980. The Irwindale plant was opened two years ago.

Earlier this month, council members tentatively but unanimously voted that the plant was a nuisance.

If the council had finalized its vote Wednesday, Huy Fong would have had 90 days to stop releasing the spicy emanations that neighbours say are burning their eyes and throats.

An attorney for Huy Fong told the council that the company plans to have a filtration system in place by June 1.

"Why do you hate me, why do you want to shut me down?" Tran said to the five-member council.

Mayor Mark Breceda, who brought a half-empty bottle of Sriracha sauce to the meeting, said the city doesn't want to shut the factory down.

"It was never this council's goal," Breceda said. "No one wants you here more, Mr. Tran and Huy Fong Foods, than the City Council."

Breceda said he was confident the city could reach a settlement with Tran before the council's next meeting on May 7, the Pasadena Star-News reported (http://bit.ly/1iiKTHn ).

Tran called the decision disappointing and has opened his factory doors to lawmakers who were interested in having his plant relocate to their region. A delegation from Texas is expected to tour the facility next month.

Privately held Huy Fong Foods was founded and is still owned by Vietnamese immigrant David Tran. He began making the fiery sauce, named for a city in Thailand, in a bucket at his home in 1980 and saw his business take off from there.

Originally a staple in Asian restaurants and homes, Huy Fong's Sriracha sauce, in its distinctive green-tipped bottles with the rooster on the logo, has spread across all cultures, with people putting it on their hot dogs, tacos, pizza and other foods.