A Comerica Park employee has been fired and arrested after he was filmed spitting in pizzas.
The employee, who has not been named, told coworker Quinell May that he was going to spit in the food and that he filmed the act so he would be able to show it to management. He said when he left his position to contact management, however, he was fired for not working.
In a statement, Detroit Sportservice, which caters at Comerica Park, said the food station was closed as soon as they learned about the food tampering.
“As soon as we became aware through social media of potential food tampering, we immediately closed that food stand, disposed of all the product and contacted the Detroit Police Department. We have been told by police that the worker has been arrested and is in custody, pending charges,” Detroit Sportservice wrote.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said SA Health investigations identified home cooked pig and lamb on the spit as the main causes of salmonella outbreaks at two separate home gatherings in 2014-15.
“The use of home rotisseries and spits is becoming increasingly common across the state as a fun way to feed large groups, especially with the weather warming up and people wanting to cook outside,” Mr Snelling said.
“Proper storage, including hygiene and refrigeration are vital so that dangerous bacteria do not get the chance to multiply before the cooking process takes place.
“If you don’t have an appropriate place to safely store a whole animal we advise that you pick the raw meat up from the butcher or supermarket as close to preparation time as possible.”
SA Health director Dr Fay Jenkins said ensuring the meat had been fully cooked through was essential in preventing salmonella.
She said the best way to ensure meat was cooked through was to place a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to measure the temperature.
“Meat, particularly poultry, needs to reach a temperature of 75 degrees Celsius to be completely safe,” she said.
They used it last year to determine who spit into a customer’s soda at a Chili’s restaurant in Clay, New York.
The state police crime lab compared DNA from some spit that Ken Yerdon found inside his soda with a swab of saliva from the man who had waited on Yerdon at Chili’s – Gregory Lamica.
The DNA was a match, according to court papers. Lamica was charged with disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty.
Yerdon and his wife, Julie Aluzzo-Yerdon, had dinner at Chili’s on Route 31 on July 28, as they did about once a week. Lamica, then 24, was their waiter.
They had a couple minor complaints – undercooked broccoli and chips not being served, they said. They told Lamica and he seemed annoyed with them, Ken Yerdon said.
“They were busy — we understood,” Julie Aluzzo-Yerdon said. “We were patient with him, but we could tell he was annoyed with us. All Ken said to him was, ‘Are you OK? Have we done something to offend you?’ And he said, ‘Oh, no, no.”
When they were getting ready to go, the Yerdons told Lamica they wanted to get their drinks refilled and to take them in to-go cups. Lamica brought them the cups, as if he’d expected them to pour the remains of their drinks into the cups, according to a police report.
Ken Yerdon told Lamica they wanted him to refill the cups, since the drinks on their table were almost gone, he said. Lamica seemed annoyed again, and took the cups to the back of the restaurant, Yerdon said.
On their way out, they Yerdons saw Lamica and noticed that he wouldn’t make eye contact, the police report said.
Ken Yerdon took two sips from the cup. He wasn’t able to see inside because it had a lid and was Styrofoam. As they were driving home, the lid popped off.
“I saw the spit in the cup,” Ken Yerdon told Syracuse.com. “It wasn’t regular spit either. It was definitely a loogie.”
Yerdon took a picture of it, dropped his wife and 12-year-old son off at their home in Clay and drove back to Chili’s.
The owner of Kennedy’s Pub, Bipin Patel of Rutherford, pleaded guilty before Municipal Court Judge Brian Levine on Monday, Nov. 3, to failing to keep food safe and unadulterated, failing to protect food from contamination, failure to have a person in charge with a food safety certificate and failure to maintain overall cleanliness. Patel was fined $100 and $33 in costs for each charge.
Health officials were asked to inspect the tavern after the incident on Oct. 18. The cook, John F. Stagg Jr., 32, of Great Meadows, was charged with spitting in food after it was returned by a 51-year-old customer for being undercooked. Another employee claimed to see Stagg spit in the food. Stagg was fired after the incident.
The kitchen was closed but the pub was allowed to remain open after the initial inspection. A subsequent inspection showed the violations were corrected and the tavern and pub were allowed to reopen on Monday Nov. 3.
He was charged with tampering with a food or drug product, as well as disorderly conduct, and released with a court date. The customer, a 51-year-old Lake Hopactong man, was contacted by police and notified of what happened to his food, police said.