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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Pink Sauce Safety Controversy Embroils TikTok Chef

MIAMI, FL — A Miami chef is fending off criticism related to Pink Sauce, a condiment she created on TikTok and the latest sensation to come from the platform.

Veronica Shaw, known as chef.pii on TikTok, created the sauce, and her videos promoting it have garnered millions of views over nearly two months.

Pink Sauce has gained even more attention in recent weeks as controversy surrounding the production and safety of the condiment has heated up.

Talk of the sauce started on TikTok when Shaw posted a video of her eating the pink sauce with a piece of chicken on June 11. Since then, people have been asking questions on what exactly the sauce is and how it gets its color and runny consistency.

In the weeks since the sauce’s debut, Shaw has posted many videos of her and others eating the sauce with several different food, including chicken, shrimp, burgers, tacos and even fried salmon.

In several videos, she has people, both kids and adults, try the sauce and give their reviews.

Dragonfruit is the ingredient that gives the sauce its vibrant pink color, according to Shaw, and other ingredients included on a video graphic posted to her TikTok are sunflower seed oil, chili, honey and garlic.

Shaw announced on her TikTok the sauce would be bottled and sold beginning July 1, and a video indicated pre-sales had sold out on June 27.

When the bottles of sauce shipped, consumers noticed problems right away, according to multiple reports.

The nutrition label stated the bottle had 444 servings with a serving size of one tablespoon, a statistical impossibility as it would be the equivalent of more than 27 cups of sauce.

Customers noted inconsistencies in the bottled sauce’s color when compared to the sauce on Shaw’s TikTok videos and to each other. Another concern was the lack of preservatives in a list of ingredients that also included milk.

There are also concerns on whether the sauce was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any facility involved in the production of food intended to be consumed by humans must register with the FDA, according to the agency’s website.

Shaw announced live on YouTube last week she was working with the FDA to prove her sauce is safe, according to Vice.

An FDA spokesperson declined to confirm or deny any pending investigation to Patch and did not respond to specific questions regarding Shaw or the pink sauce.

Food producers are required to ensure the safety of food through “current good manufacturing practices,” which include appropriate personnel hygiene, proper design, construction and maintenance of a food plant and its grounds, facility sanitation and production and process controls during food production, the agency said in a statement.

“The FDA evaluates these practices to ensure that companies are in compliance, but ultimately it is a company’s responsibility to produce a safe food product,” the statement said.

In Florida, people can use their unlicensed homes to make foods with low risk of food-borne illnesses, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

But Shaw is using a commercial kitchen to create the sauce, she told Vice.

Videos posted to Shaw’s TikTok of packaged bottles in what appears to be a home as well as claims that she doesn’t need FDA approval have only sparked controversy further.

People on TikTok claimed to have gotten sick from the condiment, and one man implied he had died from eating the sauce before later making an apology video in which he admits he never tried the sauce. He later removed the videos from his channel. He claims he did it as a “social experiment” on how fast misinformation can spread.

Shaw isn’t going to let it get to her, though, and will take the good with the bad, she told Vice, adding that Pink Sauce is here to stay.

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