TikTok has convinced people to drink balsamic vinegar in seltzer and use their vaginal fluids as perfume, so I was not exactly surprised to discover that many people on the platform are currently buying a mysterious pink sauce with questionable safety standards. The sauce in question comes in a Heinz-like squeeze bottle with the words “PINK SAUCE” emblazoned on the front, and it’s thrown TikTok into a condiment crisis after its immense popularity drew attention to some fishy details about its production. Here’s everything to know about this sauce drama.
The sauce launched in June and is now all over TikTok.
The woman responsible for Pink Sauce, who posts from the handle @chef.pii and seems to also run a mixology and catering company in Miami, first introduced the condiment to her TikTok account in late June. Around the time that presales started, Chef Pii shared the sauce’s basic ingredients — dragon fruit, sunflower-seed oil, honey, chili, and garlic — on her account. She swears she can’t describe the taste, which many suspect is a ploy to help boost sales.
Chef Pii has been marketing the sauce with two “drops,” the first of which sold out in a few days, according to her posts. Throughout July, customers have been slathering the Pepto Bismol–colored sauce on wings, tacos, burgers, and fries. Most reviewers are likening the sauce to ranch — so many, in fact, that some suspect this woman has put a few drops of red dye in ranch dressing and is selling it for $20 a pop on TikTok.
Pink Sauce’s popularity has drawn attention to some concerning details.
Even if it is more than ranch with food coloring, some fishy details have emerged surrounding Pink Sauce. First off, the shade of the condiment appears slightly different in each photo. The bottles seem to be shipped in plastic bags with no other protective packaging, causing some of them to explode during transit. Other customers have claimed that the label is attached to the bottle with glitter glue.
A few TikTok users have also raised concerns about the product’s safety standards. There’s the thoroughly confusing nutrition label, which misspells the word “vinegar” and claims there are 444 servings in each bottle. One user pointed out that the label says the product contains milk, and yet there was no expiration date or refrigeration instructions on the packaging (it appears that has since been added). Some people say the sauce smelled rotten when they opened it.
The sauce maker says she’s addressing the concerns.
Chef Pii has addressed a few of these issues on her TikTok, which is filled with videos of raving reviewers and clips of her sauce-making and selling process. In June, she said in a video of her filling wine glasses with Pink Sauce (???) that the sauce only seems to vary in hue because the photos and videos of it are taken in different lighting. (One of the TikTokers who was critical of the product also pointed out that it might be normal to have slight inconsistencies in color if she’s coloring the sauce with dragon fruit.) Earlier in July, she acknowledged that “50 damaged packages” went out, presumably referring to the exploded sauce, and claimed her team e-mailed all the customers whose packages were damaged offering to send them all new bottles via next-day mail.
Last week, she posted a video apologizing for the nutrition-label misprints, saying that she’s still in the process of testing her products in a lab. She clarified that there are 444 grams, not servings, of Pink Sauce in each container. “It’s about 30 servings per container,” she said, claiming that “we fixed the issue” and promising to correct the labels and send a gift and thank-you note to everyone who got the wrong label. “This is a small business that is moving really, really fast,” she said. “We are following FDA standards and are currently in lab testing.” She also said her team is working to get the $20 price tag down but that “ingredients are not cheap.”
In a recent TikTok Live, Chef Pii again addressed the matter of FDA approval, responding to a user’s question about whether the agency has cleared her sauce. “The pink sauce is not a medical product,” she said. “The pink sauce don’t contribute to your health. I never said that, did I?,” prompting “F in FDA” to trend on Twitter. For the record, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is indeed responsible for food-safety regulations and decisions, though home-based businesses aren’t required to register as food facilities. Still, homemade products are subject to certain FDA regulations as well as state-specific “cottage food laws” that apply to foods made and sold from someone’s home.
While even a lot of the sauce’s critics are urging followers not to be too harsh on a woman trying to get a small business off the ground, the health issues are concerning. One woman who runs a wholesale sauce company posted a video breaking down the FDA-required lab tests she ran in order to safely sell her sauce, including measuring the PH levels for botulism risk, which can be deadly — none of which Pink Sauce seems to have completed yet. The tests, she stresses, can be expensive, which might explain why it’s challenging for someone getting a business off the ground to get them done.
I’m personally inclined to stay clear of all foods this shade of pink, and until we have more intel on this, um, substance, TikTok users might want to do the same.