A former employee of manufacturer It'll Be Pizza has been arrested in connection with a tampering incident involving the company's Portland Pie products at a Hannaford location. The grocer has issued a recall of the items at all of its stores.
Hannaford Supermarkets has issued a recall for all Portland Pie cheese and fresh dough sold in the chain’s deli departments, removed all of the brand’s products from all stores, and paused replenishment of the products indefinitely, following alleged malicious-tampering incidents involving razor blades and metal fragments inserted into the products at several Hannaford locations.
The grocer said that it took the measures “out of an abundance of caution.” Customers who purchased the pizza dough and cheese from Aug. 1 through Oct. 11 were urged not to eat them and to return them to the store for a full refund. To date, no injuries or illnesses have been reported in connection with the alleged incidents.
According to a published report in Mainebiz, 38-year-old man who was formerly employed by the dough’s manufacturers, Scarborough, Maine-based It’ll be Pizza, was arrested in Dover, New Hampshire, in connection with an alleged tampering incident at a Hannaford store in Saco, Maine. Other tampering incidents were reported at Hannaford locations in Dover and in Sanford, Maine. Hannaford said that it was cooperating with investigating authorities.
Company spokeswoman Ericka Dodge told Mainebiz that although tampering reports arose back in August, the delay in issuing a recall was due to a “technological error” with regard to email that kept the information “from being elevated appropriately within our company beyond store level.” Dodge apologized for the snafu, noting that the company had since “addressed the issue and [is] adding additional reporting processes to ensure this situation never happens again.
An It’ll Be Pizza spokesman told the publication that the man who had been arrested worked at the manufacturer for about a year before he was fired this past June, but provided no details as to why the man had been terminated.
In a letter posted on its website, I’ll Be Pizza CEO Mike White emphasized, “This incident has no direct connection to the Portland Pie Co. restaurants or to any of their menu items.” The South Portland, Maine-based restaurant chain, which operates seven locations in the state, posted a nearly identical statement on its site.
White added that It’ll Be Pizza had contacted its other retail distributors to ask them to recall products sold in their stores over the same timeline reported by Hannaford. According to the company spokesman who spoke to Mainebiz, stores operating under the Shaw’s and Star Market banners, West Bridgewater, Massachusetts-based sister grocery store chains owned by Albertsons Cos., had also recalled Portland Pie Co. products.