How Pink Sauce became TikTok’s most viral—and controversial—condiment

 

By Moises Mendez II

July 21, 2022

 

How Pink Sauce became TikTok’s most viral—and controversial—condiment

A weird, bubblegum-pink condiment has taken hold of the internet. 

Dubbed Pink Sauce, the controversial product got its start on TikTok this summer when a woman began selling and shipping out the $20-per-bottle mystery substance with allegedly few precautions taken for food safety or regulations.

Where did Pink Sauce come from?

In June, the creator, Carly Pii—who goes by @chef.pii on TikTok—uploaded a video of herself dunking a large chicken tender into a bowl containing an oddly pink, creamy substance. Since then, TikTok videos with the hashtag #pinksauce have had over 81 million views. Over the next few weeks, Pii posted more videos of food covered in the sauce, whose color seemed to fluctuate from magenta to baby pink. Pii wouldn’t say what was in the sauce or what it tasted like, but TikTok users were obsessed. On June 25, she made the sauce available for purchase. Some intrigued TikTokers shelled out for the mystery condiment—and their packages came with a whole host of problems.

@chef.pii

PINK SAUCE ????????

? original sound – PINK SAUCE QUEEN ????????????

Controversy over the ingredients

Before Pii began selling Pink Sauce, there was speculation about what it tasted like or what Pii used to make it, both of which she addressed in separate TikToks—kind of. In one video, where she responds to the question, “What ingredients make it pink?” Pii said the product was “100% naturally colored with no artificial additives, and I can’t tell you the ingredients to make it pink.” 

@chef.pii

Reply to @imacittykat Hey boo I hope this help you out??

? original sound – PINK SAUCE QUEEN ????????????

Pii created a website to start distributing the product, and the website finally divulged what was in the sauce with a graphic that said the ingredients were dragon fruit, honey, chili, sunflower seed oil, and garlic. Right away, several users pointed out oddities with the product’s nutritional label (available for view on her website). Vinegar was spelled incorrectly, the math for the total amount of carbohydrates didn’t add up, and the serving size indicated that the small bottle held a whopping 14 pounds of sauce. The nutritional label listed milk as an ingredient, which raised concerns about whether it was shelf stable or could cause food poisoning.

Problems with orders

Still, it was seemingly enough information for people to order the vibrant sauce for themselves, and Pii recorded herself packaging and sending out the product. When customers got their orders, some complained that the unrefrigerated bottles had exploded during shipment and were allegedly rancid when they arrived. 

Videos of people opening their orders began circulating on TikTok. Sarah Murrell, the founder of Metal Honey Foods, a startup that sells bottled honey and sauces, posted her own TikTok video about the importance of food safety testing and warning people not to buy Pink Sauce. 

@metalhoneyfoodshbic

#stitch with @chef.pii #pinksauce is not a joke yall. Botulism is serious! #labtest #botulism #foodpoisoning

? original sound – Sarah, MHF CEO/HBIC

Pii finally addressed the controversy in a video she posted on Wednesday. “Time to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” she said in the video, apologizing for the misspelling, the serving size error, and shipping problems. Pii assured customers they would not be receiving bottles with the “bad label.” She went on to assure viewers that she and her team are “following FDA standards” and the product is in “lab testing.” In an interview with The Daily Dot, Pii did not disclose exactly what kind of testing she is doing or the timeline for when it would be completed. She told the publication that she will be releasing a “detailed response” to the controversy on her YouTube channel on Thursday night. Stay tuned.

@chef.pii

WE ARE FIXING THE ISSUES

? original sound – PINK SAUCE QUEEN ????????????

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