Michigan is certainly home to some weird and unique history, but this is probably one of the strangest lesser-known facts about the Mitten. 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.

In February of 1973 pizza manufacturer Mario Fabbrini, who operated Papa Fabbrini Pizzas, was contacted by the Food and Drug Administration regarding the pies being produced in his Ossineke, Michigan factory. Although no illness was directly linked to the pizzas he produced, the Ohio company that supplied Mario with his mushrooms had a suspected botulism contamination. The FDA then ordered Fabbrini to dispose of nearly 30,000 cheese, pepperoni, and mushroom 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?"

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The Funeral

Complying with orders, Fabbrini immediately recalled the allegedly contaminated pizzas but instead of simply disposing of them he came up with a unique and fun way to make light of a situation that very well could have tarnished his pizza brand. 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. The Governor of Michigan at the time, William Milliken, was even 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.

In spite of all the heartbreak, it turns out Fabbrini's pizzas were never even contaminated. 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. 30,000 pizzas lost their lives in vain!

The Aftermath

Having lost $30,000 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. Unfortunately, Papa Fabbrini Pizzas went out of business in the 1980s, but the memory of those 30,000 pizzas will always live on.

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