The New Hampshire man accused of putting a screw and razor blade in Portland Pie Co. pizza dough last fall pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of tampering with a consumer product in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Nicholas Mitchell, 39, of Dover, New Hampshire, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury.
Mitchell was charged in York County in October with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, a Class C crime in Maine. He has been held at the York County Jail in Alfred unable to post $20,000 cash bail since his arrest in mid-October.
Once the federal case is resolved, the state charge most likely will be dismissed.
On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III ordered Mitchell to continue being held after the defendant agreed to be held without bail.
Mitchell allegedly placed the screw in pizza dough on Sept. 11 and the razor in a different package of pizza dough on Oct. 5. The federal indictment does not state where the alleged tampering took place but documents filed in York County said that Mitchell posed as a customer at a Hannaford supermarket in Saco.
A customer reported finding a razor blade in a package of pizza dough on Oct. 6. As a result, Hannaford, Shaw’s and Star Market grocery stores pulled all Portland Pie products from their stores in the region. Hannaford also issued a recall on all Portland Pie products purchased after Aug. 1.
Documents filed in federal court do not outline a reason from Mitchell’s alleged conduct.
The Portland Press Herald reported last year that, before the tampering, Mitchell had been fired from his job as a forklift operator for the Scarborough firm that makes pizza dough for Portland Pie.
If convicted in federal court, Mitchell faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under state law, he would face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of the reckless conduct charge.