Australians told to chop strawberries as police investigate needles found in fruit

Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane

The police have said that six brands of strawberries in Australia are believed to be contaminated with needles and pins, prompting warnings from the authorities to slice the fruit before eating.

Among the reports cited by the BBC are a 9-year-old boy who's said to have bit into a strawberry with a needle (he didn't swallow it) and a 21-year-old man who reportedly went to the ER after he ingested half a needle and experienced "severe abdominal pain".

The needles were discovered in three strawberries in a single punnet, which a customer had bought from Coles in Engadine in Sydney's south.

The brands are: The Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

South West grower and market agent Paul Da Silva, from Grower Connect, said the wholesale price had fallen 50 to 70 per cent, compared with a week ago, even though WA had not imported strawberries from Queensland for a decade.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told media on Saturday investigators were doing "everything they possibly can" to find those responsible for the tampering, and pleaded with the public to come forward if they knew any information.

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"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.

Officials said it is still safe to buy strawberries but consumers should cut them up before eating them.

"At this stage, please cut them up and just look to make sure they haven't been contaminated", she said.

"Police are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date has been removed from sale". "Regretfully, preventing random acts of extremism, sabotage and simple maliciousness from people with a grudge appears to be an increasing challenge across our society".

Consumers have been urged to chop up or throw out berries purchased in the past week as police seek a culprit.

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

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