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Needles in strawberries: Who police suspect

17 September, 2018, 12:07 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • 'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning

While the brands behind the initial incident were taken from shelves, authorities said the affected punnets would have expired, but people should check their fridges and freezers for stored strawberries and dispose of them.

"We have not been notified of any cases of contaminated strawberries in South Australia; however, if people have Donnybrook strawberries at home or are unsure of the brand, they should be returned to the place of purchase, or discarded".

"I found a needle, bit into it by accident and it snapped in half - or what felt like it snapped in half - and my knee jerk reaction was to swallow", the man told 7 News.

Investigators said there are four contamination incidents, two each in Queensland and Victoria.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said identical needles had been found in the Donnybrook punnets and added "another whim" to the investigation.

"We want everybody to check their strawberries before consuming them ... just cut them up, have a look", Supt Lawrence said.

Authorities said on September 13 that they believe that they had mitigated enough risk for customers to buy strawberries again, as all stock had been replaced.

If concerned, throw away any strawberries and seek medical attention from your GP if you're experiencing pain.

She said the punnets were both Delightful Strawberries branded product.

Neither Queensland police or Queensland Health confirmed Ms Faugeras' claims in their press conference on Thursday afternoon.

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The Warmuran farm which supplied the berries under the brand names Berry Obsession and Berry Licious, was inspected by Queensland police and Australian Border Force officers yesterday.

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

And a day after going public with the problem, Queensland authorities say a potential copycat incident occurred at a Coles store in Gatton, west of Brisbane.

Police said an employee bought a punnet of strawberries at Coles and found a silver rod inside.

The Queensland Police Service said it was investigating the contamination relating to sewing needles inserted in strawberries.

Police were investigating the possibility of an extortion attempt or someone carrying out a vendetta against the supermarket giant.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has voiced her anger at the situation and is urging anyone with information to come forward, while the state's Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, is warning people buying any brand of strawberries to be careful and to cut them up before eating them.

Victoria Police said what appeared to be sewing needles were located in two punnets in separate regional Victorian towns.

Meanwhile, a NSW mother revealed her ten-year-old child discovered sabotaged fruit in a case yet unconfirmed by police.

A Coles spokesperson told Starts at 60: "Coles takes the safety of the food we sell seriously and we are working with our suppliers, police and state health regulators to investigate".

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