Washington man sues Domino’s over wire bristles left in pizza

JoNel Aleccia, now of The Seattle Times, writes that an Auburn man is suing a local Domino’s Pizza outlet over claims he swallowed wire bristles from a cleaning brush left behind in his takeout order, which pierced his intestines and required emergency surgery.

pizza.oven.wire.brushMike Norman, 50, a Boeing product manager, said he took one bite of a Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza Sept. 19, only to feel a “sharp tearing” in his throat. He washed the pizza down with juice and bread, but said he later felt a “dull pain” in his gut.

Doctors eventually removed two 1 ½-inch fine-gauge wire bristles from his stomach, according to a complaint filed this week in Pierce County Superior Court. One of the wires had pierced Norman’s small bowel, doctors told his wife, Diane Norman, 48, a preschool teacher and day-care operator.

“It could have been lethal,” she said. Mike Norman’s abdomen now sports a 5-inch scar, photos show.

Kenra Keller, vice president of Carpe Diem Pizza Inc., which does business as Domino’s Pizza 7047, in Milton, Pierce County, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Tim McIntyre, a spokesman for Domino’s Pizza corporate offices, said by email that he couldn’t comment on a lawsuit filed against an independently owned franchise, but he added that such businesses are required to follow local, state and federal health regulations.

The Normans, who are represented by Seattle food-safety lawyer Bill Marler, are seeking damages for injuries and loss of income. But they said they’d also like to send a wider warning to food-service employees — and consumers — about the rare but risky danger posed by using wire-bristle brushes to scour grills and ovens. 

7,000 fine for Australian pizza joint; cockroaches not considered a topping

The former operator of a north Canberra takeaway pizza restaurant has been fined more than $7000 after three customers found cockroaches in their meals.

Whono’s Pty Ltd, a company formerly trading as Domino’s Pizza in Dickson, was yesterday convicted of four breaches of the territory’s food safety laws.

The Canberra Times reports the store was shut down for two days in May last year after health authorities discovered a cockroach infestation and shoddy cleaning practices at the store.

The investigation came after three customers independently complained of finding cockroaches in their food.

Sole director and shareholder Alex Michael Duncan, who appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court yesterday, sold the lease on the business in November last year partly due to the fall-out from the cockroach infestation.

Cockroach toppings land pizza shop in court

Blaming the staff is never a good strategy.

But that’s exactly what the operator of a Domino’s pizza joint in Canberra, Australia, did while pleading guilty to four breaches of ACT food safety laws after cockroaches were repeatedly found on takeaway pizzas and pasta.

In an interview with authorities, the operator admitted the restaurant battled a cockroach problem for six months. He also accused staff of failing to follow the store’s cleaning regime and of falsifying completed cleaning records.

The prosecution has said three unrelated customers, on three separate occasions, raised the issue with ACT Health in April and May last year.

Documents tendered before Magistrate Grant Lalor yesterday revealed the restaurant was inspected three times in May after the customers complained of vermin in their food.

Authorities were first alerted to the infestation when a customer photographed a slice of barbecue chicken pizza containing a cockroach; another separate but similar complaint was made the next day.

The following month a public health officer inspected the Cape Street restaurant.

A statement of facts said the officer "found the premises to have a large number of non-compliant issues" and ordered pest control treatment take place within a week.

I make my own pizza.

Dominos fined $120K over cockroaches, bad hygiene in Sydney

ABC News reports a Dominos pizza shop in Sydney’s west has been described as having committed one of the worst breaches of food safety and hygiene in the Australian state of New South Wales.

The store in Quakers Hill has been fined almost $120,000 after investigations by the state’s Food Authority, following reports from customers who suffered food poisoning.

Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan says conditions inside the store were appalling, stating,

"They had evidence of significant infestation of cockroaches and also very poor hygiene of cleanliness habits. I’m told by our experts at the Food Authority that they’re a prime candidate for spreading foodborne illnesses and that’s why they’ve been given such a big fine. There are always people who don’t do the right thing unfortunately and we need to make sure that we can protect people from foodborne illnesses. Things like food poisoning are not insignificant. There are people every year who die of food poisoning and food-related diseases."

Domino’s pizza girl whines she can’t get a job

Megan K. Kelly-Hardigree, soon-to-be handwashing guru and latest barfblogger (right, pretty much exactly as shown), writes:

After being rightfully fired from a Dominos Pizza in North Carolina, Kristy Hammonds apologized to the public on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning. Hammonds admits that the video she and co-worker, Michael Setzer, posted was meant to be a joke. And it was hilarious, what with the disgusting video of cheese in the nose and wiping of the rear with a sponge meant for cleaning pizza pans.

Unfortunately for Kristy and her two kids, the joke’s on her.  She is having a hard time (along with thousands of other non-pranking Americans) finding a job.  Ironically, her applications are being rejected from other fast-food restaurants like McDonalds and Taco Bell.

I believe this is called karma. Or a bad Alanis Morissette song. She’s Canadian even.

Domino’s Employees of the Month arrested: mug shot below

Unfunnyman Dane Cook and untalented Jessica Simpson have a better chance of finding future employment in pizza preparation – actually, a ridiculously certain chance — than the two below.

Police in Conover, North Carolina say two Domino’s Pizza workers and home video enthusiasts, 31-year-old Kristy Lynn Hammonds of Taylorsville and 32-year-old Michael Anthony Setzer of Conover (right, not exactly as shown) have each charged with distributing prohibited foods.

The pair (below, exactly as shown when booked) produced some employee training videos for Domino’s Pizza that are available at GoodAsYou, including one of Michael wiping his ass with a sponge and then using it to clean a pan, and another in which Kristy says, "Did you all see that? He just blew a booger on those sandwiches.”

Does Domino’s Pizza get new media?

Domino’s Pizza posted a youtube response last night and has moved quickly to douse the Internet-fanned yuckiness of poop in its pizza.

But when Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre told USA Today today the company is considering banning video cameras in stores, I wonder if they actually understand this social networking stuff – and that anyone can have a video camera on their cell phone.

The USA Today piece explains that two Domino’s employees in Conover, N.C. — fired and facing charges — posted a video on YouTube on Monday that shows one of them doing gross things to a Domino’s sub sandwich he is making, such as sticking cheese pieces up his nose and passing gas on the salami.

Although Domino’s is getting fairly high marks from social-networking and crisis-management types about its response, McIntyre told the N.Y. Times today that company executives initially decided not to respond aggressively, hoping the controversy would quiet down.

Scott Hoffman, the chief marketing officer of the social-media marketing firm Lotame, said in social media, “if you think it’s not going to spread, that’s when it gets bigger.”

That’s actually traditional media 101, but sure, dress it up with terms like new and social media.
By Wednesday afternoon, Domino’s had created a Twitter account, @dpzinfo, to address the comments, and it had presented its chief executive in a video on YouTube by evening (see below).

Yet more than one commentator has said the video may make things worse.

Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle fails to look into the camera. Instead his eyes peer at 45 degrees, presumably in the direction of a script. The effect is not reassuring. What is even more unfortunate for Domino’s is that the posting of the video apology has caused even more YouTube commentary about the company, some of it extremely unflattering.

However, marketers are getting an instant lesson in the dangers of an online world where just about anyone with a video camera and a grudge can bring a company to its knees with lightning speed.

Here are key things experts say marketers can do to quickly catch and respond effectively to similar social-networking attacks:

• monitor social media;

• respond quickly;

• respond at the flashpoint (Domino’s first responded on consumer affairs blog The Consumerist, whose readers helped track down the store and employees who made the video);

• educate workers about social media;

• foster a positive culture; and,

• set clear guidelines.

We covered many of the same points in our Food Technology paper about food safety blogging that appeared earlier this year.

Domino’s YouTube pizza ‘prank:’ arrest warrants issued

Arrest warrants have been issued for Kristy and Michael, the two former Domino’s employees who had their 15-minutes of Internet fame yesterday.

The videos are available at GoodAsYou, including one of Michael wiping his ass with a sponge and then using it to clean a pan, and another in which Kristy says, "Did you all see that? He just blew a booger on those sandwiches.”

The Charlotte Observer reports that Catawba County health inspection records show the Domino’s in Conover, on 10th Street N.W., has a very good sanitation rating — 96.5. In fact, its last four inspections have produced scores ranging from 95.5 to 97.5.

Domino’s officials and Catawba County health department inspectors took nothing to chance late Tuesday, sanitizing all equipment in the restaurant and throwing away all opened food items.

NewsChannel 36, the Observer’s news partner, said Kristy sent an email to Domino’s officials, saying it was a prank and that she and Michael never would prepare food that way — in contrast to what they said on the video.

Domino’s officials responded to the video Tuesday, sending out a news release that said, “We are appalled by the actions of these individuals and they do not represent the 125,000 hard-working men and women of Domino’s Pizza across the country and in 60 countries around the world.”

Domino’s food prep disaster

Kristy and Michael used to work at Domino’s Pizza in North Carolina. Then they decided to upload their, uh, creative approach to food preparation to youtube.

The videos were later taken off of youtube, but GoodAsYou managed to snag all of them including one of Michael wiping his ass with a sponge and then using it to clean a pan.All the videos are there. Essential tools for future food service training.

Tim McIntyre, vp communications, Domino’s Pizza, LLC, wrote to GoodAsYou to say,

“Thank you for bringing these to our attention. I don’t have the words to say how repulsed I am by this – other than to say that these two individuals do not represent that 125,000 people in 60 countries who work hard every day to make good food and provide great customer service. I’ve turned this over to our security department. We will find them. There are far too many clues that will allow us to determine their location quite easily.”