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An employee at a Michigan bakery was arrested after allegedly throwing metal nuts and bolts into a granola bar mix.
According to a police affidavit, Ruben Gramajo, a 22-year-old baker at Hearthside Foods in Kentwood, Michigan, was caught on camera dumping a handful of metal objects into the granola, reports The Grand Rapids Press. In a written confession to police, Gramajo allegedly said he threw the objects in the granola in order to get a break from work.
Gramajo just might get his wish, but probably not in the way he imagined. What punishment could Gramajo be facing if convicted for his alleged crime?
Although tampering with food might seem more like a prank than a criminal offense, doing so can result in serious criminal charges. For example, under Michigan law, a person who places harmful objects or a harmful substance in food with the intent to harm, or who knowingly furnishes food containing a harmful object or substance to another person, may be charged with a felony. A person convicted under this law may face up to 10 years behind bars and be fined as much as $10,000.
Fortunately for Gramajo's employer, the bakery's quality control discovered the metal contamination before the products left the facility, reports Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV. In total, the bakery was forced to destroy 439,000 products due to the incident.
But it could have been worse. Had the contaminated granola made it to consumers, the company may have been liable for any injuries that the products may have caused, as employers are generally liable for an employee's negligent acts while on the job. In addition, the bakery itself may have been liable for negligence for not discovering the contaminated food before it was distributed to consumers.
Gramajo was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond under the condition that he stays away from the bakery.
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