Hannaford supermarkets blamed a technology error for its failure to inform customers and police that a customer found razor blades in Portland Pie Co. pizza dough at its Sanford store in August.
The company, however, failed to fully explain why the system to track and act on product safety problems didn’t work or how many products were affected and sold.
AndriAnne Cole Curtis bought tampered dough at the Hannaford in Sanford on Aug. 14, making her case the earliest incident that investigators have on record, according to Saco Police Sgt. Chris Hardiman.
A Hannaford manager told Curtis that she would be in contact with the company about the issue, but there was no action until earlier this month.
“This incident was reported correctly at store level but not appropriately elevated within Hannaford,” Ericka Dodge, a spokesperson for the supermarket, said on Tuesday.
The tampering first came to light to authorities on Oct. 6 when a customer at the Hannaford in Saco returned tampered pizza dough and a recall was issued for Portland Pie Co. products at that location.
Nicholas Mitchell, 38, was arrested Sunday night in Dover, New Hampshire, for tampering with the products. He was an employee at It’ll Be Pizza, which prepares branded dough balls under Portland Pie Co. brand at retail locations in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
Due to additional reports of the tampering, the recall was expanded, with Hannaford, Shaw’s and other area supermarkets clearing their shelves of all Portland Pie Co. pizza products.
“As part of the recall process, we learned about a notification error in our reporting system – a failure within our email system that prevented reports made in August of metal in Portland Pie products from being elevated appropriately within our company beyond store level,” Dodge said.
It is unclear whether the technology that had failed in Sanford was used successfully in Saco, or if the Sanford employees tried to report the incident again after no response from the company, the Portland Press Herald reported.
The Sanford police were notified about the Sanford tampering on Sunday after it was realized the issue hadn’t been properly reported in August.