Food & Beverage

Texas delegation woos Sriracha to move

Jolie Lee
Why Texas is hot for Sriracha jobs

As the makers of Sriracha battle to stay open in California, legislators from Texas are wooing the makers of the chili sauce to move to the Lone Star State.

Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba is leading the delegation meeting Monday with David Tran, head of Huy Fong Foods, which makes the famous red sauce with the trademark rooster logo, in Irwindale, California. The delegation will make its pitch while touring the factory where Sriracha is produced.

"I'm a huge fan of the product," Villalba told USA TODAY Network. "When I saw there was a possibility I would not be able to put Sriracha on my eggs, believe me, we got into action."

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For months, Huy Fong has been battling the Irwindale City Council over complaints that fumes from its Sriracha plant are causing neighbors to get sick.

The Texas delegation's goal is to convince Huy Fong Foods that their state would make a good home—or most likely a second home—to the California-based business.

California city calls Sriracha factory a nuisance

The delegation includes state lawmakers, as well as representatives from the governor's tourism office, the attorney general's office and the state's Department of Agriculture. Gov. Rick Perry and GOP Sen. Ted Cruz also tweeted their support for the Sriracha factory's move.

Click here to see Rick Perry's tweet.

Click here to see Ted Cruz's tweet.

South Texas, in particular, is ideal for a plant, where conditions are good to grow the chilis central to the hot sauce, Villalba said.

Delegates will also point to Texas' success at attracting other large companies, including Toyota's move of its U.S. operations from California to Plano, Texas. Villalba says what happened with Toyota is a good example of what he calls the Texas two-step: first a company expands into the state and then it decides to move all operations there.

With Huy Fong Foods, "We recognize that a relocation of this magnitude is unlikely in one movement," Villalba said. "We're hopeful that expansion is a good first step."

Although his plan is to keep the Sriracha factory in Irwindale, Tran has said he is also open to having another site outside of Southern California, NPR reports.

Watch: Sriracha war heats up

The Irwindale City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to declare the factory a public nuisance. If that happens, Huy Fong will have 90 days to contain the fumes.

Irwindale city attorney Fred Galante told NPR he believes the problem can be fixed without resorting to moving the plant.

—By Jolie Lee of USA Today