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After a Red Scare, Texas Could be Sriracha's Solution

Rep. Jason Villalba wrote Huy Fong Foods' CEO David Tran to convince the embattled hot sauce-maker to move to Texas.

A nationwide shortage of Sriracha sauce has fans of the hot stuff in something just short of a panic, but one state representative has a plan for Texas to come to the rescue.

State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Richardson) has propositioned California-based Huy Fong Foods Inc. to move its operations to Texas after production of the peppery product was halted due to complaints from citizens living near its factory in Irwindale, CA.

KUT's David Brown spoke to Villalba about state and city pitches to recruit Huy Fong, California's "over-regulated" business climate and his go-t0 Sriracha dishes.  

Villalba sent a letter to Huy Fong Foods CEO David Tran yesterday, suggesting the company move to the Lone Star state, however, he wasn't the first. Denton City Council member Kevin Roden propositioned Huy Fong last October. While Roden received a response, Villalba says State of Texas stationery might carry a bit more weight, and hopes Tran will consider the offer because Texas' business-friendly environment would benefit both the company and Sriracha-philes. 

"What we think has happened out in California is that because of the overregulation in California and the litigious business climate that a number of individuals in the neighborhood decided this would be a quick payday," Villalba says, adding that the Irwindale plant's employees registered no complaints with the city council, and that the plant operated for decades without incident. 

Villalba says the Texas Enterprise Fund could offer incentives to Huy Fong, and that the relocation could also bring as many as 500 jobs to Texas. It could also mean, however, a flavor-change for the sauce, as the California-grown peppers provide the distinct flavor profile. 

But, Villalba says, the company could ship the peppers in from California. 

It should be noted, Texas isn't the only state getting all hot and bothered by the Sriracha relocation. Last month, Philadelphia Councilman-at-Large Jim Kenney wrote a similar letter trying to attract Huy Fong Foods, as well. 

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