ordered the makers of Sriracha hot sauce to suspend operations for 30 days. The 30-day hold comes despite the fact the product has been on the market for more than three decades and that “no recall has been ordered and no pathogenic bacteria have been found[.]”Last week California health regulators
So what’s the issue?
The problem, reports the Pasadena Star News, is that Sriracha is a raw food.
“Because Sriracha is not cooked, only mashed and blended, Huy Fong needs to make sure its bottles won’t harbor dangerous bacteria,” writes the Star News.
Aren’t three decades of sales sufficient proof of that fact?
“The regulations outlining this process have been in existence for years,” writes California health department official Anita Gore, in a statement she sent to L.A. Weekly, “but the modified production requirements were established for the firm this year.”
In other words, the state changed the rules of the game.
Gore cites FDA regulations pertaining to acidified foods as a basis for her agency’s action.
And she writes this: “A scheduled process is the process that is adequate for use under conditions of manufacture for a food in achieving and maintaining a food that will not permit the growth of microorganisms having public health significance. It includes control of pH and other critical factors that may be established by a competent process authority.”
What in the name of all that is holy could Gore possibly mean by that?
“We cannot go into further detail about their process,” she explains, “as it is a trade secret and cannot be divulged.”
Thanks to the state-mandated shutdown, there’s now a national Sriracha shortage.
How did this happen? From every indication, Sriracha appears to epitomize the California foodie dream of turning fresh, local ingredients into something wonderful.
An L.A. Times piece on the product earlier this year reported that “each chili is processed within a day of harvesting to ensure peak spiciness.”
Is raw hot sauce like Sriracha some sort of nefarious new invention? Well, no.