Monday, 22 October, 2018

Strawberry sabotage scandal widens: Needles discovered in punnet in Adelaide

Australia's strawberry industry faces a threat from a mystery saboteurMore Australia's strawberry industry faces a threat from a mystery saboteurMore
Russell Knight | 17 September, 2018, 03:00

Overnight, it was announced that Coles and Aldi have pulled strawberries from supermarket shelves across New South Wales, after a customer returned a tainted punnet to the Engadine Coles in Sydney's south.

One man was taken to hospital after eating a strawberry with a needle inside.

"If you still have Berry Licious, Berry Obsession and Donnybrook-branded strawberries at home you should return them to the store or throw them away", she said.

"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.

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information on the Queensland strawberry saboteur amid fears six brands across four states have been targeted with needle insertion.

"We are in constant contact with the members of the growers association, and this is a big industry, everybody loves strawberries", she said.

"This was an earlier comment by the Strawberry Growers Association, it's something we don't subscribe to, we are looking at points of the chain from growth all the way to distribution into the stores, we're keeping a very open mind".

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Dr Young also reiterated her advice from the past few days - cut up any strawberries before eating.

Queensland Health confirmed to ten daily it was investigating three brands, "Berry Obsession", "Berry Licious", and "Donnybrook Berries", after seven "credible" cases of contamination.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said there was no evidence the sabotage came from a disgruntled employee.

"Police are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date has been removed from sale".

"As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat".

Police have urged consumers who have bought an affected punnet to take it to police for forensic examination.

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