The Queensland Premier has offered $100,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the person who contaminated strawberries with sewing needles.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement after three more confirmed reports of contamination occurred, ABC reported.
The NSW Police posted on Facebook, saying that although “Berry Obsession,” “Berry Licious,” and “Donnybrook Berries” have been recalled nationwide, they now believe that “Love Berry,” “Delightful Strawberries,” and “Oasis” berries are also contaminated.
They believe the latter three brands are sold in stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory.
Strawberries supplied by the Donnybrook brand come from three self-owned south-east Queensland farms. The three farms are close to the farms that produce for Berry Licious and Berry Obsession, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A recall has already been issued for Donnybrook strawberries, who supply to Coles and Woolworths.
Queensland Health confirmed the contamination of the additional three brands on Sept. 14, urging customers to return the strawberries or cut them up before eating them.
⚠️ UPDATE to affected brands of strawberries contaminated with needles ⚠️Donnybrook is now affected. Affected brands:…
It is still unknown to the police whether the newly contaminated brands are connected to the original incident in Queensland on Sept. 9, or a copycat. They may find some clues when they forensically examine the products.
According to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA), there are around 150 strawberry growers in Queensland, located between the north of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast. They contribute about 110 million punnets of strawberries between May to October each year.
Jennifer Rowling, QSGA spokeswoman, said that the industry is currently struggling and their priority is to ensure that the growers are doing well in this period of time, ABC reported.
The growers’ primary concern is the consequence the contamination will have on their revenue.
“They were already having a really difficult time with the prices being so low,” Rowling said. “So to have something so malicious and devastating happen to the industry, it’s really tough,” ABC reported.