The majority of the Google reviews for Primo Pizza are positive, with customers complimenting everything from the restaurant’s style of pizza to the generous size of the slices to the waitstaff’s ability to deal with a party of 14 on a busy night. But one reviewer named Joel begrudgingly gave Primo one star as he complained about almost every aspect of his experience. “[The] manager has no clue what he is doing when it comes to food safety, so the staff is just as clueless and it shows,” he wrote. “Just go to a different pizza place.”
Fortunately for everyone who planned on eating at the Fayetteville, NC restaurant last weekend, at least one manager absolutely had a clue about food safety, and his willingness to pay attention during prep work may have legitimately saved some lives.
According to CBS 17, manager Gurol Bicer was preparing pizzas on Friday night when he noticed something weird about the consistency and the texture of the shredded cheese. When he realized that there seemed to be a non-cheese foreign subject mixed in, he stopped making pizzas and sat down to watch some surveillance video of the employees as they shredded the cheese.
What Bicer discovered on the video was 55-year-old Ricky Lee Adami allegedly pouring rat poison directly into the cheese shredding machine—and that’s when he presumably stopped the footage and called the police.
In addition to the initial handful of cheese that tipped him off, Bicer found three other buckets of cheese that Adami seasoned with poison. All of it was collected and turned over to the cops, and the officers confirmed that none of it was ever served to customers. “Everything he touched, I threw away,” Bicer said. “All the containers, the parts of the machine, the cheese, of course.”
Bicer said that Adami had “gotten in trouble” with the restaurant’s owner shortly before he apparently decided that rat poison was an acceptable pizza topping. He was arrested and charged with distributing food containing noxious or deleterious material. (We looked up “deleterious”—it means “harmful.”) He is currently being held on a $100,000 bond at the Cumberland County Detention Center.
Adami’s behavior is way worse than Ismail Ertekin’s—even though he thought putting poison in the ‘za that he served in his Avanti restaurant was a good thing. In 2012, health officials in Zurich, Switzerland told Ertekin that could no longer use spider, scorpion, and snake venom as pizza ingredients. Each slice of pizza contained ten drops of venom (“I give more to bankers,” he admitted) and he believed that the “homeopathic” poison could be helpful in treating a wide range of medical ailments.
Unsurprisingly, the health department had none of it. “Medicinal products are not foodstuffs and are not allowed to be an ingredient in food,” an environmental health officer said. “Therefore we had to ban the pizzas. The pizza in reality contained very little poison.”
Can we all maybe agree that ZERO POISON is the best amount of poison in a pizza?