Australia Strawberries Contaminated With Needles Prompt Reward for Information

Australia Strawberries Contaminated With Needles Prompt Reward for Information

"On our own farm, [it costs] about $35,000 per day to harvest just the fruit we are dumping", said Gavin Scurr, a strawberry grower in Queensland's Wamuran town.

The first damaged fruits were reported the northwestern state of Queensland last week. "If you do that sort of thing in this country, we will come after you and we will throw the book at you".

"It's such a shame. It's not on. We can't put up with it".

Police in Australia have arrested a "young person" who admitted to putting needles inside strawberries.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told reporters on Wednesday that he was aware of 100 reports, according to Australia's ABC News.

"I need to get them in service in weeks so I can pay some debt off so I don't have to have some uncomfortable conversations", Mr Smith told The Courier-Mail.

A major strawberry supplier has taken the desperate measure of using a metal detector on produce.

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Several brands have been recalled, while New Zealand's biggest grocers have stopped selling Australian strawberries as a precaution.

West Australian police confirmed a fifth incident on Tuesday after a primary school student bit into a strawberry with a needle inside, while a Woolworths in Hobart was also targeted.

Empty shelves, normally stocked with strawberry punnets, are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane (AP)What is being done about it? At least six brands of strawberries have been affected.

"It is costing us a lot of money". Other supermarkets have also pulled strawberries from their shelves.

He said they were investigating leads.

In case you are just catching up, punnets of strawberries across different states have been found to be contaminated with sewing needles and pins, making them unsafe to eat without close inspection. It's believed some of the cases may be copycats.

Three states have offered A$100,000 rewards for information, as police continue to investigate the cause of the sabotage.

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"Someone is trying to sabotage the industry but also in doing that, they are putting babies' and children's and families' lives at risk", said Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"I would urge anyone with information that may be relevant to this incident in any way to contact police as soon as possible", she added.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered the national food safety watchdog to assess the states' handling of strawberry contamination.

Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz said what had started as a single act of "commercial terrorism" had brought a multimillion-dollar industry to its knees.

"This isn't amusing in any way", Mr Colvin said. "He's buggering the community and destroying the wider industry". "The media is giving too much air for what it is", he said.

Questions still remain: who put the needles in those strawberries, and why? One person swallowed a needle and required medical attention. "It's a criminal act".

"Police are confident no other products were contaminated in this alleged incident", the statement said.

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