Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Copycat fruit saboteur? Needle found in banana as Australian strawberry contamination spreads

Copycat fruit saboteur? Needle found in banana as Australian strawberry contamination spreads

"We're not mucking about", said Morrison, after pieces of fruit were found to be contaminated with needles or pins.

Police in NSW said on September 18 that needles had been found in more than 20 strawberry punnets, and there were also reports that a banana and apple had needles in them.

According to ABC News, at least seven brands-Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis and Mal's Black Label-have been affected thus far.

It was pretty serious for some people as one man had to be taken to hospital for emergency medical attention after swallowing part of a needle.

Australian police said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier.

Australia's prime minister on Wednesday demanded sentences of up to 15 years in response to a nationwide scare.

Greg Hunt, the Australian health secretary, directed Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to investigate the incidents, as concern spread about the apparent sabotage of the retail supply chain.

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Last week, the Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association said it had "reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee" may be behind the needle scare.

A man told police in York, Western Australia he had found a needle in the sink after washing a punnet of strawberries.

The news comes in the wake of needles found in strawberries across the country, plunging the industry into chaos and sparking consumer panic.

The discovery came as Coles and Aldi supermarkets pulled all strawberries from their shelves across the country, except Western Australia, as a precaution.

"I mean who puts needles in strawberries knowing it goes to kids and families?"

Victorian strawberry grower John Calle, chairman of Strawberries Australia and president of the Victorian Strawberry Growers Association, urged supermarkets to keep stocking strawberries.

In the state of Queensland, where the scare is believed to have originated, the authorities have announced financial support for growers who have been forced to pulp their product.

He said: "I'm angry for all the associated people, it's the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their's far-reaching".

The Kellyville Ridge mother reportedly found the needle when peeling an apple for her daughters on Tuesday morning.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also announced the establishment of a $1 million fund to assist Queensland's strawberry farmers.

Authorities hope a $100,000 reward for information offered by the Queensland government will lead to the capture of the culprit or culprits.

In the meantime, Australian health officials have suggested customers cut their fruit up before eating to avoid any needles hidden inside.

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