Here's why Australians are now afraid of eating strawberries

Roman Schwartz
September 23, 2018

Acting Commander Smith said anyone in New South Wales caught tampering with fruit would be liable for 10 years' jail and $93,000 in fines.

The Australian government urgently introduce additional measures to control the export of strawberries: now exporters, in particular, shall permit all goods through metal detectors.

The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because of his age, confessed to putting the sewing needles in strawberries as a prank and is not believed to be the culprit behind other fruit contaminations in the region, New South Wales police authorities told ABC News. Coles, for their part in this, have so far declined to remove needles from their shelves, deciding instead to inspect strawberries thoroughly.

A spokeswoman said the safety of customers was its top priority.

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.

A young person has been arrested after admitting putting needles in the fruit as a copycat prank, police said.

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. "It's not amusing", he told reporters.

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"We've booked the hall in parliament for the day, we've paid the rent on it, and that means no one goes home until those bills are passed".

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus agrees, saying there has been very "little time to fully consider what the consequences of this legislation might be".

"Labor will work with the government on supporting farmers and stopping these despicable acts", Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"We need to just make sure that we don't reach a level of hysteria at any level of government, state or federal, that also causes harm to a good industry".

It's unknown how many of them were real and how many were hoaxes.

First about strawberries stuffed with needles, said residents of Queensland.

Two of the largest supermarket chain in New Zealand on Monday chose to suspend the purchase of Australian strawberries. The Queensland and Western Australian governments are offering similar rewards.

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