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Viral Pink Sauce Shows Importance of Preventing Foodborne Illnesses

Videos marketing a mysterious bright pink sauce exploded in popularity on the social media platform TikTok – but were quickly followed by a swift backlash as users found the errors on the label and the product smelled rancid.

Earlier this summer, Veronica Shaw, a private chef also known as the TikTok creator Chef Pii, posted a video of her newest condiment creation she titled, “Pink Sauce” on TikTok. This vibrant sauce quickly became popular both because of its unusual color, but also because the creator’s lack of explanation of what the sauce tastes like. The mystery of the sauce quickly became a phenomenon.

However, as consumers began buying Pink Sauce, problems started to occur.

Health concerns

Early buyers of Pink Sauce were concerned about the lack of information about ingredients and the accuracy of the nutrition facts.

Most concerning, the sauce contained milk and was shipped to consumers without preservatives or proper storage conditions. Some bottles exploded during the shipping process, and others arrived with a rancid smell, according to media reports.

Consuming food prepared without proper preservation processes or preservative ingredients can increase the risk for foodborne illnesses. Without proper packaging and storage, food can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Pink Sauce did not have the proper packaging or preservatives and posed a risk to consumers.

The sauce’s unknown pH also led to botulism concerns. Botulism can cause serious symptoms such as muscle paralysis, difficulty breathing and even death.

Contracting food poisoning can cause more than just an upset stomach and vomiting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food poisoning can lead to more serious long-term health effects such as brain and nerve damage or kidney failure.

 

Steps to avoid foodborne illness

It’s a good idea to use caution with direct-to-consumer food products, or products that aren’t sold in stores like Pink Sauce. Here are some more ways to protect yourself from foodborne illnesses from condiments:

  • Store food according to package instructions.
  • Follow expiration dates.
  • Avoid cross contamination by using separate spoons or knives for food items like sauces or spreads.
  • Refrigerate items immediately after using.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Now, the creators of Pink Sauce are working with a commercial food manufacturer to create a shelf-stable version of the product. Remember, just because a product is gaining popularity on a social media app does not mean that it is safe for consumption.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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