Australia Warns Consumer to Cut Strawberries After Needles Found Inside Some Samples


It's a crime so odd that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

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.

Three more punnets were found contaminated with needles on Friday, according to ABC Australia.

Contaminated strawberries have also been identified in NSW in Tweed Heads, Taree and Wingham.

A fresh report of a contamination in Townsville is being investigated, Queensland police said, following instances elsewhere in the state.

One man was taken to hospital after eating a strawberry with a needle inside.

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Her government is offering a Aus$100,000 (US$71,500) reward for any information that leads to the capture and conviction of those responsible. "It is simply unacceptable, I am furious about this".

NSW police have warned that fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands had needles inserted by a possible copycat.

NSW Police and Queensland Police are investigating whether the latest needles found in strawberries are the work of a copycat, or related to the original incidents. The broadcaster also said wholesale prices have dropped by around half. "If you stop picking them for a few days then they stop producing fruit, so we're trying to weather out this storm and hope that things get better, but to do that it's costing". A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.

"This was an earlier comment by the Strawberry Growers Association, it's something we don't subscribe to, 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".

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.

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