The Bizarre Reason 30,000 Pizzas Are Buried in Ossineke, Michigan
If I told you nearly 30,000 pizzas are buried in Northern Michigan would you believe me? It sounds too absurd to be true, but believe it or not there is indeed a pizza burial ground just south of Alpena in the tiny town of Ossineke.
Personally speaking, pizza is a staple of my diet so if I had to throw out nearly 30,000 pizzas like this Michigan man, I'd probably hold a funeral too! And no, they weren't "Tombstone" brand pizzas either.
Papa Fabrini Pizzas
It was on a cold, February day in 1973 when local pizza manufacturer Mario Fabbrini, who owned and operated Papa Fabbrini Pizzas, was first contacted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the pies being produced in his Northern Michigan factory.
The call was in regards to a suspected contamination in his factory, particular the canned mushrooms that topped his pizzas. Fabbrini told the The Daily Courier, "
All I could think was, 'Oh my God. Not me. What if somebody gets sick or dies from this?
Fortunately, no illnesses were directly linked to Fabbrini's pizzas however, because the the Ohio company that supplied Mario with his mushrooms had a suspected botulism contamination the FDA ordered Fabbrini to dispose of nearly 30,000 cheese, pepperoni, and mushroom pizzas. Heartbreaking!
Of course Fabbrini immediately recalled the questionable pies, but instead of allowing his reputation and brand to take a hit, he instead came up with a fun PR stunt to make light of his unfortunate circumstances and decided to hold a "funeral" for his pizzas.
On March 5, 1973 Fabbrini rounded up his 22 factory employees, a handful of reporters, and local residents to join him in a ceremonial funeral for the sullied pizza pies. Even then-Michigan Governor William Milliken was in attendance and gave a moving homily.
Once the pizzas were laid to rest Fabbrini placed a wreath of white carnations and red gladiolas on the grave.
RIP: Rest in Pizza
After all the commotion and fanfare surrounding the pizza burial here's the real kicker: it turns out Fabbrini's pizzas were never contaminated to begin with!
Several mice had died in a laboratory test which led scientists to believe they had died of botulism poisoning, but it was only after the pizza recall that lab technicians confirmed this was not the case. That means 30,000 pizzas sadly lost their lives in vain.
Having lost $60,000 in pizza casualties, Fabbrini filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Ohio mushroom supplier and finally settled his case in the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1979. That's nearly 6 years of pizza-related drama!
Unfortunately, Papa Fabbrini Pizzas went out of business in the 1980s, but the memory of those 30,000 pizzas will always live on. You can check out an obituary page for the fallen pizzas here.