Another Sriracha Shortage May Be on the Horizon. What Happened?

Huy Fong Foods, the maker of the most popular variety of Sriracha sauce, told distributors last week that it would halt production of all its products until at least September, rekindling fears of another prolonged shortage of the beloved condiment.

For years, the manufacturer has had difficulty at times obtaining the red jalapeño chiles it needs to make the sauce. The sweet and spicy condiment is a fixture in Asian restaurants, particularly Vietnamese ones.

Huy Fong representatives declined to comment on Thursday. No other companies that produce Sriracha seem to be affected by the chile shortage.

Here’s what we know.

Why did Huy Fong Foods halt production?

Last week, Huy Fong Foods sent a letter to distributors announcing the pause, saying its chiles were “too green to proceed with production as it is affecting the color of the product.”

The letter, first reported by USA Today, said production wouldn’t resume until after Labor Day, when the next chile season begins. Craig Underwood, a California farmer who grew red jalapeños for Huy Fong Foods for nearly three decades and is now a competing manufacturer, said the chiles were likely picked too late in the season.

At Mr. Underwood’s farm, Underwood Ranches, chiles are typically picked from mid-July until the end of October. The jalapeños start out green, then mature to a chocolate color and are picked when they turn red.

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