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Because residents of Irwindale are experiencing things like burning throats, eyes, and some pesky headaches from exposure to fumes emanating from the Sriracha hot sauce factory, the company is facing a shutdown from the city. And now the hot sauce’s CEO and founder is warning of us dark times ahead which may include a shortage and price hike. “If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump up a lot,” CEO and Huy Fong Foods founder David Tran told The Los Angeles Times. Huy Fong foods makes the legendary sauce.

The nation now faces a Sophie’s choice: is the health of 30-or-so Irwindaliens more important than the exquisite burn of the rooster sauce? Would we rather have spiced eggs and salty-spicy soups or some clear-eyed Angelenos? Is our dependency on this wondrous sauce stronger than our fidelity to our brothers and sisters who live in L.A.?

The answer isn’t clear right now. The plant processes raw material for about one quarter of the year and is struggling to meet demand, The Los Angeles Times reports. Considering the demand — there were 20 million bottles sold last year — a shutdown could result in a real Sriracha shortage. If that happens, hoarding and selling bottles wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The savior in this whole predicament could be a $600,000 contraption which burns the fumes/air. “Burning the pepper air just didn’t seem safer. Maybe we didn’t move fast enough, but it’s a big business expense and we want to make sure it’s the right investment,” Huy Fong Foods’s director of operations, Adam Holliday said. To that we say, Kickstarter, Adam. If the public will chip in $5.7 million for a silly Veronica Mars movie, we can cover $600,000 for your fancy air-burning system. Let’s be done with this.

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