Strawberry sabotage crisis spreads to New Zealand

Strawberry sabotage crisis spreads to New Zealand

Authorities in New Zealand are investigating the discovery of a needle in a punnet of strawberries sourced from Australia.

Needles, first found in strawberries produced by one supplier in the northern state of Queensland, are now turning up around the country in the berries and other fruits.

Woolworths-owned supermarket chain Countdown announced it was removing Choice brand strawberries, imported from Western Australia, from shelves across NZ after an Auckland customer reported discovering needles in their fruit on Sunday.

Countdown Supermarket said that the brand had been removed from their stores and encouraged the public to return them to their stores for a full refund.

The news of Australia's fruit contamination scare spreading beyond its borders is the latest blow for Australian fruit growers, who have seen a plummet in demand and wholesale prices since the crisis started earlier this month.

It added that the brand of strawberries affected by this withdrawal "have not previously had any issues of this nature reported and had not been withdrawn from sale in Australia".

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Choice berries are not among those recalled in Australia.

According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, the Australian government is due to hold a vote Thursday on whether to increase the prison sentence to 15 years from 10 years for those found guilty of tampering with food.

Most are thought to be pranks or jokes on social media, but at least two minors have been questioned by police for carrying out hoaxes.

A 62-year-old woman has already been caught putting a needle into a banana in Mackay, central Queensland, in what is believed to have been a copycat act.

"We hope that it would not be a New Zealander doing a copycat. these will be the things that will be discovered", he said. It's not amusing. You're putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk and you're scaring children.

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