North Carolina Restaurant Employee Arrested for Reportedly Tainting Cheese with Rat Poison

Ricky Lee Adami was charged with distributing food containing noxious or deleterious material.

Published Jun 7, 2018

 (Moving Moment /
Image Via Moving Moment /

On 6 June 2018, police in Fayetteville, North Carolina distributed a press release disclosing the arrest of a pizza restaurant employee suspected of contaminating cheese with rat poison:

The preliminary investigation revealed that a manager was preparing pizza when he observed an unknown substance mixed into the shredded cheese. The manager immediately stopped preparing pizza and reviewed surveillance footage to determine who prepared the shredded cheese. It was determined that Ricky Lee Adami, (W/M, 59 years of age) of the 3100 block of Imperial Drive was preparing the cheese when he placed an unknown substance into the cheese shredder machine. The manager contacted Police and all contaminated cheese was identified and collected prior to being served to any customers. The substance Adami placed in the cheese is suspected to be rat poison.

The release stated that a suspected "food tampering incident" occurred on 1 June 2018, when Primo Pizza employee Ricky Lee Adami was allegedly caught on security footage putting an "unknown substance into the cheese shredder machine." The release stated that the substance seen in the footage was believed to be rat poison, but police did not elaborate further. Authorities stated that the purportedly tainted product was not served to any patrons.

The Charlottesville Observer later reported that Adami had multiple prior convictions (none of which appeared to involve food tampering):

Adami was being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

Public records show Adami was previously convicted of burning a public building, multiple DWIs, multiple breaking and enterings and larceny in the 1980s and 1990s.

WSOC-TV reported that the owner of Primo Pizza managed to intercept the contaminated pizza after viewing security video, which allegedly showed Adami reaching into his pocket several times.


Bennett, Abbie.   "A Restaurant Employee Put Rat Poison In The Pizza Cheese, NC Cops Say."     Charlottesville Observer.   6 June 2018.

WSOC-TV.   "NC Pizza Restaurant Worker Accused Of Putting Rat Poison In Cheese."     7 June 2018.

City of Fayetteville Police.   "Suspect Arrested For Tampering With Food."     6 June 2018.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.