Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Even More Strawberry Brands May Have Been Contaminated With Needles

Even More Strawberry Brands May Have Been Contaminated With Needles

But as anxious customers throw their berries in the bin, the heartbreaking effect of the major recall on Aussie farmers has been laid bare.

"Any strawberries bought from 13 September are safe", she said.

It comes after NSW police confirmed they had received community reports of contaminated strawberries in state stores. If you are in doubt of the brand, throw them out.

Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said people responsible for contaminating the fruit could be charged with maliciously causing grievous bodily harm.

"Luckily, in each of those cases, the needles were found within the strawberry by the person who had purchased them when cutting the strawberries, as we had asked them to do", he said.

"I don't know, because the problem is there's so many people handling the fruit all the time, and packing, so I can not say where it happened", he told a Channel 9 reporter.

Chantal Faugeras posted to Facebook images of strawberries she says she bought from a Coles supermarket on the NSW mid-north coast on Tuesday.

"People can go back and buy the strawberries they normally buy, from anywhere", she said.

Several brands of strawberries have been withdrawn.

Foodstuffs NZ is assuring people that the strawberries stocked on New Zealand shelves is not affected by the Queensland strawberry recall.

While the needles found in the initial attack had been inserted inside the fruit, the latest punnet had a metal rod placed inside the punnet, which had been purchased by a staff member on Thursday morning.

So far four contaminated punnets have been found - two in Queensland and two in Victoria.

It is unclear if Ms Faugeras' discovery is related to the earlier incidents or a potential copycat.

"Queensland Health has found that another brand of strawberries, Donnybrook strawberries, is associated with the contamination".

The major scare has not only damaged his farm's reputation, but also the entire strawberry industry which is suffering because of low prices.

It's feared six separate brands of brands of strawberries have been contaminated with needles.

It's suspected the incident is a copycat attempt.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young has requested retailers withdraw all Donnybrook strawberries through a trade level recall. Supt. Lawrence said "we're not agreeing with that at this particular point of time".

There are other reports out there, but they're still being chased up.

Police suspect a disgruntled former employee sabotaged the strawberries with the sewing needles.

"As with all farmers who produce food for our nation, strawberry growers strive to ensure the quality, security and freshness of their produce and these spiteful incidents have been extremely disheartening and troubling", the association wrote in a statement.

"We're not going to speculate at this stage".

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