MELBOURNE–Needles have been found inside strawberries in two more Australian states, police said on Sept. 17, broadening a health scare that has caused supermarkets to recall brands and farmers to dump fruit amid the peak growing season.
One man in the state of Western Australia and a girl in South Australia reported finding needles in their strawberries in the past two days, according to police.
Seven brands of strawberries in Australia are now believed to be contaminated with needles and pins, according to police reports, prompting warnings from authorities to slice the fruit before eating.
So I heard about the strawberry sabotage yesterday from Woolworths. ** Wingham***10 yr old Just tried to eat 2nd…
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told reporters on Sept. 17 that it was unclear if the contamination was the result of a single person acting alone or several people acting independently and that tracing back through the complex supply chain was taking time.
Consumers in Queensland were the first to report finding needles embedded inside strawberries.
“A member of the public today presented at York Police Station to report his concerns that a needle had been in a punnet of strawberries,” the Western Australian police said in a statement.
“The member of the public advised he located the needle in his sink after preparing strawberries for his family. He did not recall the needle being in the sink prior to preparing the strawberries.”
Posted by Chantal Faugeras on Thursday, September 13, 2018
South Australian police meanwhile said that they were advising members of the public to check punnets of Mal’s Black Label strawberries following a report of a needle found inside the fruit on Sept. 16 morning.
“When the fruit was consumed this morning, a needle was found inside one of the strawberries. There were no reported injuries,” state police said. Police in both states are investigating.
Both of New Zealand’s biggest supermarket chains decided on Sept. 17 to halt Australian strawberry orders for now, even though the country’s Ministry of Primary Industries confirmed none of the contaminated strawberry brands had made it on to shop shelves.
Australian police said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier. Queensland is a major strawberry producer in a national industry worth more than A$130 million ($93.22 million) a year.
Woolworths Group has removed all the affected brands from shelves in its supermarkets, but continues to sell other varieties of the fruit.
Jamie Michael, who is head of the Western Australia Strawberry Growers Association, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp that his farm had dumped strawberries in the peak of the season and that if shoppers stayed away, some growers would not be able to afford to plant a crop for next year.
This is no doubt the worst thing to ever happen to my family. This here is a video of our strawberries being dumped, this here is worth more then you could ever imagine and within 3 days we lost it all. My mum Leena Lee Cufari and my step dad has worked years to build the empire they’re sitting on now, they put all their money and effort in to build such a successful business. They work hard to make the money for our family and to have these selfish individuals destroy it is just so upsetting. My mum works day through to the night, controlling the shed and her 250 employees, making sure her strawberries are packed to perfection. This will not stop my family from doing what they do best, if anything they’re going to do better. I thank everyone who supports us and all the other farmers who were affected by this horrible issue. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts ❤️*** To everyone who does not know, this is due to the needle contamination. We have to throw them out because the markets wouldnt take our strawberries due to the needle scare.** video produced from Donnybrook Berries** Donnybrook berries will be adding precaution and putting in metal detectors and other safety equipment we can think of to give our consumers the best quality strawberries.
Posted by Stephanie Chheang on Monday, September 17, 2018
By Melanie Burton