Economy

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

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

These brands are sold in Coles, Woolworths and ALDI across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

The BBC and ABC Australia report that sewing needles have been found embedded in strawberries, from six different brands, that came out of supermarkets in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, per NSW police.

WA Strawberry Growers Association spokesman Jamie Michael said strawberries in WA shops and markets at this time of year were all grown in WA, so there was no risk of sabotaged fruit from Queensland being imported.

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information on the Queensland strawberry saboteur amid fears six brands across four states have been targeted with needle insertion.

On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton. "It is simply unacceptable".

"Police are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date has been removed from sale".

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A woman in Wingham posted pictures of strawberries with needles in them to Facebook, saying she purchased them at the local Coles.

Prices for strawberries dropped to unbelievable lows in the lead-up to the decision by Coles and Aldi. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

But on Saturday, Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters that suspicion is "something we don't subscribe to".

"The most frustrating thing for us is there is no reason for WA consumers to be concerned or to avoid eating WA strawberries, given the incident happened 3000km away and appears to be the work of a disgruntled employee", he said.

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.