A unique sauce that went viral last year on TikTok and stirred debate among many users on social media is now available to buy at Walmart.
Chef Veronica Shaw, known as chef.pii on TikTok, first introduced the world to "The Pink Sauce" last year and posted videos promoting her product which gained millions of views and her small business took off.
The sauce was controversial for some people who questioned the nutritional content of the sauce and if milk was an ingredient.
Shaw partnered with Dave’s Gourmet, a company that manufactures pasta and hot sauces. But Walmart is the exclusive retailer of Pink Sauce, and customers can get their hands on the gluten-free, sweet, and tangy sauce for $7.78 at Walmart.
"From TikTok to table, shock your tastebuds with flavor & thrill. Taste Chef Pii’s famous sweet & tangy sauce is made vibrant with dragon fruit & spices. Are you ready to try the pink sauce that became an overnight internet," Walmart wrote on its website.
Walmart also shared on its website that the Pink Sauce is manufactured at an FDA-approved facility and hot-filled products can be shipped and sold unrefrigerated. But once the sauce is opened it should be refrigerated.
How did the Pink Sauce become viral?
Discussions about the sauce took off on TikTok when Shaw posted a video of her eating the sauce with a piece of chicken. Since then, people have had questions about what the pink sauce is and how it gets its color.
Shaw told FOX Television Stations in July 2022 that dragon fruit is what gives the sauce that light color. She also said she chose the fruit because it helps with her bad anxiety and so when her friend gave her the idea to make a sauce she wanted that to be an element.
Photo of Chef Veronica Shaw, known as chef.pii on TikTok, first introduced the world to "The Pink Sauce" in 2022 and posted videos promoting her product which gained millions of views and her small business took off. (Veronica Shaw)
She posted multiple videos of her eating the sauce with different food such as chicken, tacos, and shrimp. The private chef even had others try the sauce on camera to get their opinions.
When consumers of the product received bottles of the sauce and gave their reviews, they noticed issues with the product.
The nutrition label stated that the sauce bottle had 444 servings and a serving size of one tablespoon. That equates to almost 28 cups of sauce in a bottle.
Not only that, but the word vinegar was also misspelled as "vinger" and there was no mention of preservatives considering an ingredient on the product is milk. People also pointed out some sauces were either darker or lighter than another.
Response to the controversy
In response to the nutrition label, Shaw said the person she had design the label made a mistake. The label was supposed to say the sauce had 444 grams and 30 servings.
According to Shaw, the product was a prototype. She told people she was not selling prototypes but did a giveaway with them before putting them on the market.
"We did not put a prototype on the market, we did a giveaway because people were so curious about what the pink sauce tasted like," she claimed in the video.
The production of the sauce didn’t start until July 1, 2022 and any sauce people consumed before that was a prototype.
"The Pink Sauce has only been an official product since the first of July. We began production on the first of July," Shaw stated in her video.
The main concern was if the sauce was FDA-approved.
The FDA website states that facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food intended for human consumption in the United States must register with FDA before beginning these activities. Shaw says that her business is registered with the FDA.
"Pink sauce is made in an FDA-approved commercial facility here in Miami, Florida," Shaw said in a video on YouTube and ensured people that she was abiding by FDA standards.
In another live video, she did a couple of days after these comments, she asked people what the FDA has to do with her pink sauce.
The FDA website does not approve all food products. The agency's website states that "If you are producing a food product, there is a good chance it is regulated by FDA. The agency regulates all foods and food ingredients introduced into or offered for sale in interstate commerce."
As conversations around the sauce grew, so did people’s criticisms. Many felt that she should stop making the sauce in fear that someone would get sick or file a lawsuit.
In Florida, the Cottage law allows individuals to use their unlicensed home kitchens to produce for sale certain foods that present a low risk of food-borne illness, it states on their website.
The food included in this is loaf bread, rolls, biscuits, cakes, pastries and cookies, candies and confections, honey, jams, jellies and preserves, fruit pies and dried fruits, dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures, homemade pasta, cereals, trail mixes, and granola, coated or uncoated nuts, vinegar, and flavored vinegars, popcorn and popcorn balls.
The outline of this law is another reason people have been curious about if her product is legal and if she is working out of a facility. There have been videos of Shaw making the sauce and packaging the bottles in her home.
FOX Television Stations reporter Austin Williams contributed to this report. This post is a follow-up story published by Williams in 2022.
This story was reported from Washington, D.C.