Australians warned to cut up strawberries after people report finding needles inside

16 September, 2018, 13:29 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane

The BBC and ABC Australia report that sewing needles have been found embedded in strawberries, from six different brands, that came out of supermarkets in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, per NSW police.

The ABC said Saturday wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production.

A Queensland man posted this photo of a strawberry with a needle in it after reporting his friend swallowed one. The Australian newspaper reported that there have been at least seven reported cases in three Australian states, raising concerns that copycats are working separately to contaminate the berries.

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information on the Queensland strawberry saboteur amid fears six brands across four states have been targeted with needle insertion.

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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. "I am furious about this".

"The contamination relates to what appears to be needles inserted in strawberries".

Strawberry prices have dropped around the country.

Queensland Police Service, who have launched an investigation into the potentially hazardous findings, revealed that affected brands include "Berry Obsession" and "Berry Licious", according to an update on the agency's Facebook account. A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.

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In a follow-up statement released on Facebook Thursday, the group said the strawberries were seemingly "interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased".

"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.

Queensland is a major strawberry producer in a national industry worth more than A$130 million a year.

"This is a serious issue and it just begs the question, how could any right-minded person want to put a baby or child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a awful act?" she said.

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