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Chain expands pizza dough recall involving razor blade tampering

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Hannaford Supermarkets has expanded a pizza dough recall to include all Portland Pie products while doubling down on warnings to consumers about “malicious tampering” involving metal objects.

“Hannaford has removed all Portland Pie products from all store shelves and has paused replenishment of the products indefinitely,” according to the Oct. 11 expanded recall notice posted on the supermarket chain’s website.

As of Oct. 19 the Food and Drug Administration had not posted the company’s recall notice. The recall has been widely published by news media. The FDA’s standing policy is to post company recall notices after they have been published elsewhere. 

No injuries had been reported as of Hannaford’s posting of the expanded recall.

There is concern consumers may still have the recalled products in their homes. A man has been arrested in the case, but products may have been tampered with before authorities knew about the tampering. Some reports have said the tampering included inserting razor blades and other metal objects into the products.

“Customers who purchased Portland Pie pizza dough and Portland Pie cheese sold in the deli at any Hannaford store between Aug. 1 and Oct. 11 should not consume the products and may return it to the store for a full refund” according to the recall notice.

“Customers are urged to also check storage areas including freezers for product that may have been purchased and frozen during this timeframe.”

According to the Press Herald in South Portland, ME, Hannaford failed to report the discovery of the razor blades within the 24-hour period as required by law. The chain’s representatives told the newspaper technical difficulties were to blame.

Apparently a customer complaint about razor blades lead to the investigation, which is being handled by local authorities. Investigators determined the Portland Pie branded products were supplied by “It’ll be Pizza” based in Scarborough, ME.

Some say the problem is definitely post production. Bill Marler, a Seattle food safety attorney, told the Press Herald that authorities are right to have focused on tampering at the retail level.

“Razor blades don’t just fall from the sky. If it was a bolt or screw, a brush bristle, they could have come off during the manufacturing process,” Marler told the newspaper. “But razor blades? Anybody in the food business who gave it any thought would suspect it to be deliberate pretty quickly.”

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