If you logged onto TikTok or Twitter this week, you might have seen people talking about something called “Pink Sauce.” No, it’s not the pasta made with cream and tomatoes, but instead a condiment made by a TikTok user named Chef.Pii. Bright pink in a Pepto Bismol way, Chef.Pii markets it dumping it on tacos, wings, egg rolls, salads, and more. There’s an adorable design on the bottle akin to the Victoria’s Secret Pink logo, and she’s shipping it everywhere. The problem? Kind of everything.Consumers of the sauce are reporting all kinds of issues, from misleading nutritional info, exploded packaging, a spoiled smell, and varying shades of the sauce itself. The chef herself posted videos of her preparing it without gloves on.
Not to sound like a baby, but we wouldn’t eat it.
In a TikTok from Wednesday, Chef.Pii addressed some of the concerns raised over her sauce, saying the sauce is still in lab testing, that she was following “FDA standards,” and that the misleading nutritional label would no longer be shipped out.
One brave twitter user has tried to figure out what the actual ingredients are, in a thread that starts here.
Saw mystery pink sauce was trending and it caught my attention. I’m not going to pay $20 for a mystery sauce BUT I am going to attempt to recreate it at home.
Let’s try it two ways. First the way it says it is via marketing & the second using their ingredient list. #PinkSauce pic.twitter.com/LeJ5evv7yn
— Melissa Enchanted (@MelissaEnchant) July 21, 2022
Once the negative reviews started pouring in, people were transfixed by the grift-like nature of the whole thing. It’s pretty gross looking, no one knew what the actual ingredients were, and the confident, charismatic chef will not stop posting through it. It’s a perfect storm of internet drama, but pink sauce could likely get you very sick.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Pii said “I guess when you’re great, you can’t make a mistake, but, I mean, yeah. My team is working quickly to fix the issues,” Pii said. Observer attempted to reach Pii herself, but as of press time several calls were made, and only loud thunks could be heard in the background before the call dropped.
Pink sauce has also raised concerns amongst food safety experts. “As a product in general, it seems like it’s pretty risky,” said Benjamin Chapman, a professor specializing in food safety at North Carolina State University. He said there are two important factors from a safety standpoint, namely the PH and water activity of the sauce.
“Pathogens that make us sick don’t like acidic environments and like to have lots of water,” said Chapman, who ordered the pink sauce himself in order to test these elements in the product. “Having dragon fruit, sunflower seed oil and garlic that looks to be raw without really being acidified has a lot of potential for pretty harmful bacteria growth.”
Chapman also raised concerns about the product’s labeling, which includes a disclaimer reading “not FDA approved.” Products introduced into commerce are still subject to regulations from local state laws, he said. “The manufacturer doesn’t quite get what the terminology is. That statement doesn’t absolve you.”
Pink sauce is not the only food product created by a TikTok user that has gone viral for the wrong reasons. On June 13, TikTok user Deva Tillis posted a video complaining about a ‘spicy bowl’ containing crawfish and eggs she ordered from a small business on the platform. The bowl took nine days to ship to Tillis’s address, and the fish was rotten by the time it arrived.
She ordered crawfish through the mail. y’all gonna get enough of ordering food from these people that don’t even know what they doin pic.twitter.com/YaFPudXIcV
— Shadrach, Meshach, & A Bad Negro 🤎 (@Thickie_McGee) July 20, 2022
In another TikTok video, Tillis explained that the product was falsely advertised as being shipped with dry ice to preserve the seafood, and revealed she only received a partial refund. Other food products from TikTok creators, such as a sunflower seed pickle soup, have also gained traction on social media.
People are buying sunflower seed soup from a lady on TikTok. All hope is lost.
— Asè Aesthetics💕, India (@IndieBombDotCom) July 21, 2022
Small businesses selling unregulated food online isn’t new, according to Chapman. “It’s not a TikTok phenomenon. But what’s different is that TikTok is so good at small consumption and making things go viral,” he said. “Just because it’s on TikTok, doesn’t mean that it’s safe.”