LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas Tuesday visited the Huy Fong sriracha hot sauce factory that has come under fire from the Irwindale, Calif. City Council.
In a letter sent last week, Cardenas told owner David Tran if things don't work out in Irwindale he is more than welcome to relocate his factory to the San Fernando Valley district Cardenas represents in Congress.
Irwindale appears to have turned against Huy Fong, though its former redevelopment agency took credit for assisting construction of the chili sauce manufacturing plant on the former location of an asphalt batch plant and a rock, sand, and concrete aggregate processing facility.
Cardenas wanted to discuss the possibility of opening a Huy Fong Foods plant in the San Fernando Valley, according to a prepared statement.
Cardenas called Tran's business, which grows by 10 to 40% every year, an American success story.
"Mr. Tran's story is really powerful," Cardenas said in the statement. "He left Vietnam, started a company from his home, and it has gone on to be so incredibly successful. He wanted to sell Sriracha all over the world, and he chose the United States - and California - to build his American company and create American jobs."
Cardenas said he doesn't want California to lose the firm.
"All of their ingredients are grown in California's Central Valley," Cardenas said. "If Huy Fong Foods needs to relocate, why send them off thousands of miles away? California's 29th District is home to a long manufacturing tradition. Why not keep the jobs in California?"
A partial shutdown of the plant resulted from a court injunction in November 2013 after the city filed a lawsuit outlining complaints from city residents about burning eyes, itchy throats and a pervasive smell of chili peppers wafting from the factory.
The situation has grabbed national media attention as food aficionados bemoaned the possibility of a shortage of the popular hot sauce.
Other states have contacted Tran about relocating the plant. Cardenas said he wants to ensure Huy knows he is welcome to relocate to other areas of California - and his 29th Congressional District specifically.
Cárdenas was joined by staff from the Office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley.