Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

No import of Australian strawberry brands with needle contamination: AVA

Stocks of strawberries have been replaced Image Police have warned the contamination may have spread to six brands of strawberries
Russell Knight | 15 September, 2018, 17:09

'This is food terrorism that is bringing an industry to its knees, ' Strawberries Australia Inc Queensland spokesman Ray Daniels said.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is said to have issued the reward over concerns for growers as well as consumers.

New South Wales Police said the number of reported incidents has been increasing, with six brands believed to have been targeted: Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

Australian authorities earlier this week asked consumers to throw away strawberries bought from Woolworths Group if they bore the brand of Berry Licious or Berry Obsession, after three punnets were discovered to include fruit embedded with sewing needles.

Police asked anyone who finds a needle in their strawberries to take the punnet their local station.

"The suspected copycat incident, reported at a supermarket in Gatton, involves the discovery of a thin metal object in a punnet of strawberries", police said. Queensland Health said in a Thursday tweet that "consumers should cut up strawberries before consuming them", even if they're not from one of the six named makers.

She said the punnets were both Delightful Strawberries-branded products.

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Spiked strawberries have surfaced in Sydney, with a horrified shopper finding needles stuck inside three pieces of the fruit.

"We've got to look at this as a whole, it's a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said.

The association has previously said it believes a disgruntled former farm worker may be responsible, but police say they are investigating all aspects of the strawberry transit process.

The product is now set to under-go forensic testing at the local police station and authorities work with the supermarket.

He said retailers had heavily discounted prices, but that was not helping move enough stock.

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.

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