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Strawberry needle scare: Australia probe as 'vicious crime' widens

Strawberry needle scare: Australia probe as 'vicious crime' widens”

"For all other brands, our advice remains that you can continue to eat strawberries, but you should cut them up before eating".

"It's such a shame".

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne says he understands why New Zealanders are baulking at Australian strawberries.

But he said "there's been metal detectors purchased and tamper-proof packaging looked at".

"At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries in Queensland and Victoria", the statement reads.

One of the needles found in one of the strawberries from interstate
Camera Icon One of the needles found in one of the strawberries from

"We're not going to stand for it".

Police in Queensland believe the discovery of a "thin metal object" in a supermarket strawberry basket last week was likely a copycat incident.

Strawberries being dumped in WA.

People have been hiding sewing needles in store-bought strawberries in Australia, which has sent at least two men to hospital with abdominal pain.

A man in the town of York reported to police that he found a needle in a sink after washing strawberries.

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Police have identified sabotaged punnets from brands Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, Love Berries and Oasis.

Select strawberry brands have been taken from shelves all over Australia and New Zealand after needles started cropping up inside pieces of the fruit.

On Monday, New Zealand company Foodstuffs - which supplies about half of the country's supermarkets - said it had stopped importing Australian strawberries due to the scare. "We are actively working with our valued primary producers and the supporting supply chain to do what we can to minimise the impact and cost of the recent withdrawals".

Woolworths and Coles are complying with the recall and have put notices up in stores advising customers to cut up their strawberries, amid growing calls for supermarket operators and managers to check their own stock.

There have now been nine confirmed cases of strawberries found with needles in them and one consumer has been hospitalised, the ABC reported.

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It's believed some of the cases may be copycats.

The contamination was first reported in Queensland, where the government is offering a $100,000 reward (almost $72,000 in US dollars) for information.

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

"I would urge anyone with information that may be relevant to this incident in any way to contact police as soon as possible".

"This a vicious crime, it's created to injure, and possibly worse, members of the population at large", said Hunt, according to ABC.

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