Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Police investigating after needles found in Australian strawberries

'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning Contaminated strawberries, Queensland – update 1 - Queensland Police News
Kenneth Drake | 17 September, 2018, 06:31

Three more cases of needles and pins found in strawberries have been confirmed, with six brands now believed to be affected.

People in possession of the brands in question should refrain from using them and strawberries from other companies "should be cut up" for safe measure, police said in the update, quoting Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young.

A Queensland man posted on Facebook that his friend had swallowed half a sewing needle after eating a strawberry from Woolworths on September 9.

"It snapped in half, my knee-jerk reaction was to swallow, and I found the other half of the needle in the strawberry", he said.

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

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

"To our current knowledge, two labels, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession, are the only affected lines".

"It wasn't five minutes later they rang back and said it was too late, he'd actually bitten into it", she told ABC radio.

"The recent food safety warnings and product recalls around strawberries on the east coast of Australia do not apply to Western Australia", she said.

"If you have Donnybrook strawberries at home, or are unsure of the brand, you should return them to the store or throw them away". "The contamination relates to what appears to be needles inserted in strawberries".


Earlier this week sewing needles were found hidden inside strawberries sold at Woolworths, sparking a recall of two brands that had been sold in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

"We're fairly confident if people do come forward with a needle in a strawberry, particularly with the packaging, that will provide us with some information", he said.

Only weeks ago, some supermarkets dropped the price of strawberries as low as $1 per punnet to help suppliers move tonnes of excess produce.

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

Police believe they have contained the threat, which was first reported over the weekend.

Police have been investigating at the Berrylicious and Berry Obsession farms.

Queensland Strawberry Growers Association industry development officer Jennifer Rowling claimed on Wednesday night that a "disgruntled ex-employee" could be responsible for the contamination.

"Our investigation is still open, we're not going to get into speculation".

Queensland mum Angela Stevenson discovered her strawberries, which she had given to her son for school lunch, were contaminated after cutting into metal.

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