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Wire Bristles Found in Domino’s Pizza: Physical Contamination

Woman with a large pizza.

In September, Michael Norman, resident of Milton, Washington, swallowed two wire brush bristles while eating a slice of Domino’s Pizza. His wife had picked up the pizza at a Domino’s Pizza near their home in Milton, Washington earlier that day. The wire bristles in Michael’s pizza were a physical contaminant that came from a wire brush that food service workers had used to clean the oven.

After taking only a few bites of pizza, Michael felt a sharp pain in the back of his throat. After attempting to wash down what he thought was lodged food with water, Michael felt a sharp tearing in his throat. He drank some cranberry juice and ate bread to try and relieve the pain. For the next several days, he felt a continuous dull pain in his stomach.

Michael went to the doctor where x-rays and a CT scan revealed that he had two metal wire bristles sitting in his abdomen. One of the bristles had punctured his small intestines. After an unsuccessful attempt to remove the wires by endoscopy, Michael was rushed into surgery on September 27 to remove the wire bristles.

Upon inspection of the Domino’s Pizza store, Christina Sherman, TPCHD environmental health specialist, found wear on the wire brush used to clean the wire rack of the pizza oven. Some of the bristles were bent, and others were missing. Those bristles seriously injured Michael Norman. This incident is a reminder that physical food hazards can be very dangerous for customers. It’s always important to make sure that equipment and utensils are in good repair so that they do not contaminate food and harm customers.

Cami Mills

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