IRWINDALE, Calif -- The famous Sriracha rooster sauce is missing in action for many of Huy Fong's distributors after food safety regulations forced the company not to ship out any product for 30 days. The hold took effect on Monday, according to angry customers, and will last until the middle of January.
"It's a disaster," said Damon Chu, president of Giant Union Co. "We've done business with them for 20 years and we've never had this kind of thing before. We get shipments every 2-5 days and we never had any doubt of them saying they don't' have it so we don't store that much."
Chu said the Whittier-based company, which ships out the three Huy Fong sauces to wholesale distributors, has no Sriracha left, meaning locals may soon have trouble ordering a spicy tuna roll at their local sushi restaurant. Many of his customers are already upset about the Sriracha shortage.
"We have contracts with them and if we don't supply it they are going to sue us," Chu said. "We are trying to convince them it's not our fault. We are kind of nervous."
Donna Lam, executive operations officer for Huy Fong Foods, said the company has been trying to fight the new stricter regulations, which she said come from the state, but finally had to give in this week.
"It's not a bad product, that's not the issue. It's strictly regulations," Lam said. "We're back ordered as it is but now we have to tell customers we aren't sending anything until mid January."
State officials were not immediately available for comment.
Whiting Wu, manager for Summit Imports in New York, said he has also gotten complaints from customers and fears the economic impact the hold may have on restaurants and grocery stores.
"We will lose business opportunities," Wu said. "This is a regular item for us."