SACO, Maine — A metal screw was found in a pizza made by a local restaurant on Tuesday. But the discovery is likely not related to other metal objects found in pizza dough sold at Hannafords in recent months that spurred a recall of Maine-made pizza products at distributors across five states.
Tuesday’s screw-containing pizza came from Ricettas Brick Oven Ristorante on Main Street, which makes its own dough.
“We believe this was simply a freak accident,” said Ricettas founder Ron Stephan. “[It is a] very rare occurrence for anything like that to happen over our 31 years of operation.”
Customer Steven Bridges of Portland said he found the self-tapping sheet metal screw in a mouthful of pizza while eating with friends. At first, he thought it was a hunk of charred bacon.
“Then I pulled it out of my mouth and there was the screw,” Bridges said.
He shared a photo of the screw on social media.
Bridges sent a text, letting the restaurant know what happened. He said he received a return message saying the restaurant had a look around but didn’t find anything in their kitchen missing a screw. Bridges was given a partial credit for his order.
“We’re not the kind of people who go around suing people to get things for free,” Bridges said. “We care about other people not getting their mouth all cut up.”
Bridges said it didn’t occur to him at the time that the incident might be related to the widely publicized case of pizza dough tampering at supermarkets in Saco and Sanford.
Nicholas Mitchell, 38, was arrested Sunday night in Dover, New Hampshire, for tampering with the dough. He was fired in June from 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. Police say MItchell inserted the razor blades into dough packages onsite at the supermarkets, not at the manufacturing facility where he formerly worked. There have been no injuries or deaths reported from the teampering.
Stephan reached out to Bridges on Thursday, offering apologies.
“This never should have happened,” he said.
After finding the screw, Bridges said he and his friends chewed the rest of their pizza with care.
“Trust me, everyone was looking after that,” he said. “But they have such good pizza.”