Australia's Queensland on the hunt for strawberry saboteurs using needles

16 September, 2018, 13:24 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Aussies need to dice up their strawberries carefully

Three brands-Donnybrook Berries, Berry Licious, and Berry Obsession-have been taken off the shelves completely.

On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton.

"Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia - they are putting an entire industry at risk", Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Saturday.

"I won't go as far as saying we have specific leads".

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In Queensland, these are the only three brands which have been confirmed as contaminated.

Farmers are pleading with consumers no to let this act of "food terrorism" damage the industry, and have urged people to continue buying berries and cut them up before eating as a precaution. He is being assessed by medics but his condition is not known.

Contaminated punnets have been found across the country, in supermarkets in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Several brands grown in Queensland have been withdrawn from supermarkets, and there have been multiple reports of other cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

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"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", NSW police said in a statement late Friday.

"The contamination relates to what appears to be sewing needles and pins inserted in strawberries".

Some Australians have posted photos on social media showing needles they found in their berries.

Dr. Jeannette Young, Queensland's chief health officer, said the Donnybrook brand would be pulled from store shelves.

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"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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