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Business and Economy

Regulators Investigating Hannaford's Delay Reporting Metal In Pizza Dough

Tom Porter
Maine Public/file
The Hannaford supermarket on Forest Avenue in Portland, seen in 2015.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is investigating the timeline of an apparently malicious tampering incident, where pizza dough containing sharp metal fragments was discovered at a Hannaford store in Sanford in August.

But food safety regulators only learned of the incident on Oct. 14, after a similar incident was reported at the Saco Hannaford.

“What we’re doing now is working with Hannaford and making sure that they’re clear in their understanding of their reporting requirements when they encounter cases of adulteration either intentional or otherwise,” says Celeste Poulin with the Quality Assurance and Regulation division.

Poulin says she has requested a report of the incident from Hannaford, which she expects by the end of the week. She says a determination will then be made as to what caused the reporting delay and whether any citations are warranted.

Poulin says it is not uncommon for accidental adulteration to occur, such as a piece of plastic winding up in a product, but this is the first time in her career she’s encountered what appears to be a deliberate attempt to cause serious harm.

Police in Saco have arrested and charged 38-year-old Nicholas Mitchell with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and other charges in connection with the tampering incidents.