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Sriracha maker ordered to halt sauce shipping for 30 days

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Oct. 29, 2013: This photo shows Sriracha chili sauce moves along a production line during at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. (AP)

Huy Fong Foods, makers of the popular Sriracha hot sauce, has been barred by California regulators from shipping any of its sauces until mid-January due to new, stricter guidelines. 

The California Department of Public Health is requiring that all batches of the company's sauces be held for 30 days to ensure that they are free of harmful microorganisms, a spokeswoman for the department told the Los Angeles Times. The additional measure is required because the because the sauces are freshly ground and not cooked. 

The new regulation comes as Huy Fong is in the midst of a legal battle with the city of Irwindale, where its factory is located. The city sued the company earlier this year, claiming that spicy odors from the factory had caused or exacerbated health problems among residents. In November, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the plant must immediately stop any odor-causing production until experts can identify and mitigate the smell. 

Distribution is expected to continue as normal once the 30-day period expires. However, wholesale food suppliers who buy from the factory and sell it on to restaurants and stores warn that the delay could affect their business. 

One such supplier told the Times that the delay could cost him $300,000 in sales, claiming that he buys up to $150,000 worth of products from Huy Fong every month. 

Click for more from the Los Angeles Times

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