JUST IN | Police Believe Copycat Needle Found In Strawberries In Queensland

Roman Schwartz
September 16, 2018

Gladstone woman Angela Stevenson said she found two needles from one punnet of Berry Obsession strawberries in the past week.

The initial brands affected by the contamination, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession, have already been removed from sale and are no longer in market.

"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.

"We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them", Gane added.

At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may. "We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain", Gane wrote. A product recall was under way. The store also contacted the supplier, the police, and the health and safety authorities.

Earlier this week, Woolworths said anyone who'd purchased any of the affected brands could return them to their local store for a full refund.

On Friday evening, New South Wales Police Force said it believed the contamination may affect six brands of strawberries - Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis.

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

Sewing needles have been found hidden inside strawberries sold at Woolworths, sparking a recall of two brands that had been sold in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

"It was lying on top of the strawberries", Detective Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said.

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"[It's been done] obviously to injure somebody", he said.

It is the latest incident in what the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association believes to be the actions of a disgruntled ex-employee. "We're keeping a very open mind as to where this may have occurred somewhere between the actual growing of the strawberry through to the completion of the production line and going even further through to distribution and going on to the shelves".

Police are now interviewing what could end up being around 100 staff from the two affected farms, the ABC reported.

Meanwhile, a NSW mother revealed her ten-year-old child discovered sabotaged fruit in a case yet unconfirmed by police. "We'd be lucky at the moment to get between $3-4 a kilo", Mr Schultz said last month.

"Luckily he pulled it back out of his mouth and told the teacher".

Where have people found needles in their strawberries?

Any strawberries bought from 13 September are safe.

The incident could not come at a worse time for strawberry farmers.

In the post, Ms Faugeras said her 10-year-old discovered a pin embedded in a strawberry while eating a punnet they had bought from the Coles store at Wingham. She said that people can "chop them in half" if they remained concerned about the presence of needles.

"For other brands, our advice is all strawberries should be cut up before they are eaten", Young said.

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