A pizza dough manufacturer did not report three complaints made in September about screws found in its product sold at Hannaford stores.
That revelation, first reported by the Portland Press Herald, comes amid a multi-agency investigation into allegations that a man inserted razor blades and other metal objects into pizza dough at Hannaford stores.
Scarborough-based It’ll Be Pizza did not report the complaints back in September because it was conducting its own internal investigation, according to the Portland Press Herald.
It’ll Be Pizza told the Press Herald the screws did not match any of the machinery it used during production, and customer reports were inconsistent. In addition, it claimed that federal requirements do not specify how or when a case of tampering must be reported — only that it must be reported at some point.
“In hindsight, IBP appreciates that it could have done better when it comes to more timely reporting of consumer product tampering,” Tim Bryant, a Portland attorney for It’ll Be Pizza, told the Press Herald. “It could have done better. For that, IBP would like to apologize to everyone who was impacted.”
The three complaints to It’ll Be Pizza were all made in September at different Hannaford locations: one in Wells, one in North Berwick and one in Dover, New Hampshire.
The company claims that after the third complaint, it hired a private investigator to track down Nicholas Mitchell, a former employee who had been fired for tardiness and whose unemployment claim It’ll Be Pizza had successfully denied. Mitchell has been charged in connection with the tampering and is being held at the York County Jail in Alfred without bail.
Bryant told the Press Herald this was the first time in 20 years that It’ll Be Pizza had ever received a report of a foreign object found in any of its products.
The dough manufacturer isn’t the only company under scrutiny for its handling of the tampering. Hannaford may have violated Maine food regulations when it failed to immediately report screws and razor blades found in the dough in its stores back in August.