“You really saw a woman making bubblegum buttermilk ranch in her kitchen in a Minja blender and you was like, yep, now’s the time to support small businesses, I’ll take three. Not me!” TikToker Demetrius Fields said in a post. “I saw her and was like, fuck her dreams. And that’s why I’m alive and you’re in the ER.”
Food influencers have come under fire for risky recipes, like Bon Appétit’s Brad Leone, who was accused of putting his audience at risk of contracting botulism. Food safety is no joke, and the harm that unregulated cuisine can accidentally cause can be deadly. But there is no indication that there are any safety issues with the pink sauce product, nor any reports that anyone has been ill after eating it.
TikTokers like @seansvv and @charlyndajean have called on Pii to be more careful, but the thousands of TikToks and tweets about pink sauce from the masses haven’t extended the same grace.
“It’s just trial and error like any other business — but since I went viral, I didn’t get the chance to let it unfold like everyone else,” Pii told BuzzFeed News. “We’re on a mission to show our customers that we care about their health and don’t want to put them in harm’s way.”
Before her pink sauce posts blew up, Pii had fewer than 1,000 followers on TikTok — too few to even livestream. She now has 50,000 followers, which pales in comparison to the millions of views and posts that pink sauce has inspired. She began posting food- and weight loss–related videos on YouTube four years ago, but none of them have topped a couple hundred views.
“This turned into a product overnight, but I wasn’t able to verbalize my plan for it like a regular individual. I’m not an influencer,” she said. “Before this, TikTok didn’t know me from anyone else.”
“This is a small business that is moving really fast,” she says in one video. “We are following FDA standards, however. We are currently in lab testing. … I’m a passionate person, but I’m listening to y’all.”
She told BuzzFeed News that it has been hard to have so many people call her a scammer, but she’s determined to overcome it and put out the best possible product.