Monday, 19 November, 2018

'Be ultra cautious': new strawberry alert issued after suspected copycat incident

'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning Contaminated strawberries, Queensland – update 1 - Queensland Police News
Laurie Berry | 16 September, 2018, 20:43

The complaint spurred an investigation from Queensland authorities, after it was revealed the two contaminated brands were sold in stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.

It's suspected the incident is a copycat attempt.

The confirmed cases happened in Queensland and Victoria, police said, adding that the brands are sold at locations in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Queensland acting Chief Superintendent, Terry Lawrence, from the State Crime Command, said police believed the contamination was deliberate and was aimed at hurting someone.

"We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them".

Canberrans who have bought fresh strawberries recently are being urged to check the brand after sewing needles were found in some berries interstate.

According to the Herald Sun, health officials and police said on September 12 that three punnets of strawberries from Queensland and Victoria had been found to have needles in them-one from Queensland and two from Victoria.

"We are working closely with our local and interstate counterparts as the investigation continues and are committed to keeping the public informed as this progresses".

Meanwhile, a NSW mother revealed her ten-year-old child discovered sabotaged fruit in a case yet unconfirmed by police.

Police are checking every step of the production chain, and they say strawberries purchased from Thursday are safe.

Another Wamuran grower, Mandy Schultz, took to Facebook before the needle contamination fears kicked in to say she received a phone call from a wholesale agent to say he was not accepting anything but extra large strawberries.

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'Any strawberries that you are certain are not the brands Berry Licious and Berry Obsession, are safe, ' she confirmed.

"Driving up the coast when Hoani Hearne bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle", he wrote.

A young boy in Gladstone ended up with a needle in his mouth on Tuesday after taking strawberries to school.

Van Dorp had to be taken to the emergency room with 'severe abdominal pain'.

"It does appear to be an isolated incident so far.it's the perception that people have that's the concern".

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association believes a disgruntled farm worker may be responsible but police say they are investigating all aspects of the strawberry transit process.

'If you are in doubt, just throw them out'.

Customers were also encouraged to cut through any strawberries before they consumed them.

"We'd just really love for consumers to see what it is and hopefully it doesn't affect the consumption of strawberries too much".

"Yesterday, I said anyone that had bought those products since the start of last week needed to dispose of them", Dr Jeanette Young said on Thursday.

"Police will eventually come and collect those strawberries and the potential evidence from you".

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