Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Professor Ernesto Hernández-López’s article “
Sriracha Shutdown: Hot Sauce Lessons on Local Privilege and Race
” was published in Volume 46 of the
Seton Hall Law Review
this week.

From the abstract:

Seton Hall Law Review book coverIn 2013, Huy Fong Foods, maker of the trendy hot sauce sriracha, fought in court to stay open. The Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale tried to enjoin all sauce production, arguing that “offensive chili odors” created a public nuisance. This was an unexpected development because Huy Fong was recently invited to relocate to Irwindale and air quality regulators found no problems. Sauce lovers and the media closely watched this spicy legal drama, dubbed the “sriracha-apocalypse.” Originally created for Vietnamese phở soup, sriracha is extremely popular worldwide.

This conflict points to a suburban racialized exclusion, sourced in municipal legal powers. With a population that is over ninety percent Latino, Irwindale was incorporated to capitalize on racial divisions. Mining companies sought these divisions in order to benefit from low taxes. Incorporation created a legal privilege in municipal powers to exclude outsiders. Irwindale’s public nuisance lawsuit to shutdown sriracha exemplifies such a tactic. Eyeing this food conflict, this Article uses critical approaches to race and geography to illustrate the influence local government law has on race relations in the suburban United States. This Article also illustrates how municipal legal powers result in racialized exclusion, despite race neutral legal positions and a lack of racist animus.

Read the full article

Ernesto Hernández-López joined the Chapman University Fowler School of Law faculty in 2005 and was promoted to Professor of Law with tenure in 2011. His current research focuses on international law, post-colonialism, law and culture, law and food, and immigration. He has published articles in U.S. legal journals such as the
UC Irvine Law Review
SMU Law Review
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law
Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.
He has also been published
in European law journals such as the
Journal of World Trade
Journal of World Intellectual Property
, and
Butterworths International Banking and Financial Law Journal
, and in South American journals
Revista del Rosario
Revista Javeriana
. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Minority Groups. He has served on the Scholarship Committee for the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association (OCHBA), the Committee on Inter-American Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY), and the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Immigration Policy Advisory Council. In 2008, the Latin American business magazine
Poder 360
named him as one of the “Top 50 Colombian Intellectuals in the United States.” Before law school, he served as an International Relations Research Professor at the Universidad del Rosario and as a Political Science Professor at the Universidad Javeriana, both in Santa fé de Bogóta, Colombia. Professor Hernández-López has been interviewed extensively on the controversy over Sriracha hot sauce. Other scholarly writings include “
LA’s Taco Truck War: How Law Cooks Food Culture Contests
” in the
University of Miami Inter-American Law Review
; and “
Kiyemba, Guantanamo, and immigration law: an extraterritorial Constitution in a plenary power world
,” in the
UC Irvine Law Review

Read more of Professor Hernández-López’s scholarly writing