Strawberry sabotage: WA not affected by needle contamination

STRAWBERRY CRISIS NSW Mum Finds Needles In Punnet Purchased At Local Coles

Already struggling with low prices, strawberry growers are imploring customers to keep buying their fruit after sewing needles were discovered in punnets.

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.

"He obviously bit into it, felt it, pulled it out and told the teacher "there was a needle in my fruit" and everyone was sort of gobsmacked as to why?"

"I don't know anything, at this stage, I don't know anything, I'm like you guys, I want to find out". "The contamination relates to what appears to be needles inserted in strawberries".

"Farmers are really nervous about it, obviously, and devastated something as very bad as this would happen to the industry", Ms Rowling said.

Angela Stevenson was cutting up strawberries purchased from Woolworths in Kirkwood, for daughter Koby-Rose, 1 when she discovered a needle inside one of the strawberries.

"It wasn't five minutes later they rang back and said it was too late, he'd actually bitten into it".

"He's going through hell, it's an bad situation to be in", Rowling said.

He said police are "comfortable" that the issue with the "Berry Obsession" and "Berrylicious" brands had now been resolved, having been taken off the market.

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

"I only just got it by a couple of millimetres, so it was lucky it wasn't pushed in any further".

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Police believe the incident is a copycat.

One Queensland man reportedly swallowed half a needle.

"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. The two brands can be found in Woolworths and potentially other stores.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says anyone else who had bought the brands of strawberries without signs of tampering should return them to the store or throw them away.

"While it is expected that berries picked early last week would now not be useable, many people freeze the fruit for later use". "It makes it hard because you might need to dispose of them earlier, but just cut them up for safety's sake".

"These strawberries are distributed in South Australia by Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi".

'If you believe you have eaten a needle, we would recommend you speak to your doctor or call 13 HEALTH.

She added there was no reason to stop eating strawberries but the public needed to be aware of the incident.

Those strawberries sold after Thursday are said to have been from a later shipment and are safe from the threat.

Strawberries Australia's industry development officer Jennifer Rowling told the ABC that the industry is "devastated by this incident and it's distressing to think that someone's done something like this".

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