Australia searches for culprit hiding sewing needles in strawberries

Jermaine Castillo
September 16, 2018

Australian authorities are warning its citizens against eating certain brands of strawberries after some have been found to contain hidden sewing needles inside.

Two of Australia's major supermarkets have pulled strawberries from shelves over needle contamination fears.

One Australian woman posted photos online showing the needles inside strawberries her 10-year-old son was eating.

The incidents have been piling up, with contaminated strawberries found with needles purchased at supermarkets in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

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The Queensland Government has put out a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the culprit behind the contamination of the strawberries. The broadcaster also said wholesale prices have dropped by around half.

People in possession of the brands in question should refrain from using them and strawberries from other companies "should be cut up" for safe measure, police said in the update, quoting Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young.

"This is putting families' lives at risk and it's also putting the strawberry industry at risk ..."

A Coles spokesperson told Starts at 60 that they have complied with Queensland Health's requests to remove affected strawberries from sale. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

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In a statement, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had "reason to suspect" that a disgruntled former employee was responsible for placing needles in the strawberries.

"We are looking at points of the chain from growth all the way to distribution into the stores, we're keeping a very open mind", he said.

"How could any right-minded person want to put a baby or a child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a awful act?" she asked.

Australia's strawberry industry is worth some A$130m ($94m; £70m) a year and there are concerns that such incidents could have a lasting detrimental impact on sales.

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