Pink Sauce, a product created and marketed by a woman who goes by Chef Pii on TikTok, has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. Known for her bright, Pepto Bismol-colored condiment, which reportedly features ingredients such as dragonfruit, raw honey and pink Himalayan sea salt, Chef Pii has been riding the wave of success on TikTok for some time, with many users interested in the novelty of the sauce.
Yet over the past few weeks, she’s faced numerous questions about Pink Sauce’s ingredients, packaging and marketing, prompting a social media-based food scandal. Following the recall of Starbucks’ chicken sandwich from its menu, Pink Sauce has also come under fire for a plethora of possible health and safety issues.
Pink Sauce Controversy
Miami-based Chef Pii, whose real name is Veronica Shaw, started promoting Pink Sauce on TikTok last month. The mystery surrounding the sauce’s flavor, which has been likened to ranch dressing, piqued the interest of those who saw clips of Shaw drizzling it over chicken tenders. On July 1, Pink Sauce officially launched on its website at $20 per bottle. Shortly after, the controversy ensued.
Concerns arose when TikTok users noticed an inconsistency in the product’s color. In some videos, the sauce had a vibrant pink color, while in others, it had more of a pastel pink hue. As for flavor, many reviewers had trouble placing the exact savor. One user claimed it tasted like “sweet ranch,” but took issue with the watery consistency of the product.
Such critiques were mild in comparison to a review posted by a creator named Sean, who questioned the details of Pink Sauce’s label. He showed the bottle label that seemed to indicate that it contains 444 servings of the product, at 60 calories per serving of about a tablespoon — a near mathematical impossibility.
Sean also pointed out the label had various misprints, including the misspelling of the word “vinegar,” and that the nutritional details are not readily available on the website — something that should be common sense for any food entrepreneur to include, and that possibly falls short of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) packaging standards.
From there, further skepticism surrounding Pink Sauce began to mount. One creator who had purchased a bottle of Pink Sauce claimed that not only was the product improperly packaged, but that it smelled “rotten” upon arrival and barely contained the advertised amount of Pink Sauce. Several other customers said they received leaking bottles of rotten-smelling sauce in the mail, with approximately 50 packages being impacted.
Others pointed out that although Shaw listed milk as one of the ingredients for Pink Sauce, the label did not feature any directions regarding refrigeration, nor does the product label appear to include any preservatives to prevent spoilage as would be expected for most dressings. Shaw clarified that the sauce should be refrigerated after opening but insisted that the product has been quality tested.
Shaw was recently fielding questions live on TikTok when someone asked her whether Pink Sauce was FDA-approved. Her response consisted of, “What do you mean FDA-approved? I don’t sell medical products.” She continued with “The Pink Sauce is not a medical product. The Pink Sauce don’t contribute to your health.”
The ignorant response prompted further criticism, mainly about Shaw being unaware that the “F” in FDA stands for “Food.” The FDA even has a “How to Start a Food Business” website, which states that the agency “regulates all foods and food ingredients introduced into or offered for sale in interstate commerce.”
While a food manufacturer doesn’t necessarily have to get all its products “FDA-approved,” the agency reminds everyone that “If you are thinking about opening a food business, there are many regulatory requirements that you will need to meet.” For example, there are the recordkeeping and labeling requirements, which indicate that a food business must maintain proper records that the FDA or other regulatory agencies may request to see at any time.
In addition to FDA requirements, food businesses must also follow any other federal, state and local requirements that apply, all of which are in place to try to protect the consumer’s health. In the case of Pink Sauce, consumers banded together to call out a naïve food business owner for the sake of other consumers’ health. Time will tell whether the business will survive amid the controversy.