Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Save Sriracha

When it comes to things Americans enjoy, particularly our vices, the government can't move fast enough to stop it. Of course things like smoking, drinking, pot, and transfat are unhealthy habits that probably deserve at least some level of public regulation.

But what happens when the government misses the mark? Instead of looking at thirty years of production history, the government looks at the public's overwhelming interest in a product, their addiction to it, and immediately treats it like heroin.

That's an exaggeration, of course, but an exaggeration of what the California government is doing to Huy Fong Foods' wildly popular Sriracha sauce.

Although previous complaints by neighbors shut down Huy Fong's Irwindale, CA factory in November, California regulators have stepped up their efforts to shut Huy Fong down, or at least drive it out of the state.

According to Anita Gore from the California health department, new FDA regulations applied just last year will have an impact on raw foods. Since Sriracha isn't cooked, and is a natural food containing no additives or preservatives, it could be prone to bacterial growth.

It's kind of ironic that a state that prides itself on the natural and organic is trying to shut down a product that has been natural and organic for thirty years, and widely available.

One has to wonder why regulators are pressing Huy Fong Foods and no other hot sauce makers, most of which contain uncooked and raw ingredients as well. Is California's decision to suspend Huy Fong Foods' operations a good intentioned provision of new FDA requirements, or is it simply another knee-jerk reaction by government suits to put an end to something that's just a little bit too enjoyable?

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