Hannaford Supermarkets is recalling all Portland Pie pizza dough and cheese products after reports of customers finding razor blades or blade shards in the products. A supplier’s former employee is facing charges in the incidents, according to a local media report.
The regional grocer alluded to foul play in issuing its recall of the products sold in the deli departments of its 184 stores between August 1 and October 11 in five Northeast states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
“After what is believed to be further malicious tampering incidents involving metal objects inserted into Portland Pie products, Hannaford has removed all Portland Pie products from all store shelves and has paused replenishment of the products indefinitely,” the company stated in a release last week.
Hannaford urged consumers to check their freezers for the recalled products, which should not be eaten but returned to the store for a refund. No injuries or illnesses had been reported in connection to the recall, it added.
The branded products being recalled are supplied by It’ll Be Pizza, which like Hannaford is based in Scarborough, Maine. The frozen dough supplier’s CEO, Mike White, also issued a statement, saying that last Tuesday an ex-employee had been arrested as a suspect in “a number of food tampering incidents involving Portland Pie Co. branded food items.”
This evening the Dover, NH Police Department located Nicholas Mitchel and took him into custody on the outstanding warrant for his arrest in the Hannaford’s Portland Pie pizza dough razor blade case.
The company had reached out to other retailers that carry the pizza dough products, White said. That reportedly includes Shaws, Big Y and Star Market. White declined to comment further, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
Customers reported finding razor blades and blade fragments in pizza dough purchased at a Hannaford in Sanford, Maine, two months ago, but the supermarket chain did not notify police and consumers until last week, after nearly identical complaints prompted a recall and police probe in Saco, Maine, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Hannaford did not immediately return a call from CBS MoneyWatch requesting comment. The company told the Herald it was improving its internal policies and procedures to make sure any future incidents are reported to higher-ups at the chain.
More recent reports in Dover, New Hampshire, have police now investigating cases of alleged tampering of bags of pizza dough in Hannaford supermarkets in three cities across two states, according to the newspaper.
Nicholas Mitchell, 38, is charged with inserting razor blades into Portland Pie Co. pizza dough at the Hannaford in Saco, the Herald said. The suspect had been fired in June from his job as a warehouse forklift operator for It’ll Be Pizza, the outlet reported.
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