Monday, 22 October, 2018

No import of Australian strawberry brands with needle contamination: AVA

Aussies need to dice up their strawberries carefully Aussies need to dice up their strawberries carefully
Ginger Lawrence | 15 September, 2018, 17:11

The incident was reported to authorities on Thursday, but the strawberry punnet targeted was a different brand to other confirmed discoveries.

Amid the contamination, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday said they suspected that the culprit was possibly a "disgruntled" former employee.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, urged the community to come together to find the person responsible behind the "callous act".

Punnets supplied by three brands have been recalled from supermarket shelves although New South Wales Police said they believed a further three brands may be affected.

Australian authorities are warning its citizens against eating certain brands of strawberries after some have been found to contain hidden sewing needles inside.

The needles were discovered in three strawberries in a single punnet, which a customer had bought from Coles in Engadine in Sydney's south.

Among the reports cited by the BBC are a 9-year-old boy who's said to have bit into a strawberry with a needle (he didn't swallow it) and a 21-year-old man who reportedly went to the ER after he ingested half a needle and experienced "severe abdominal pain".

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The statement added: "As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat".

"We really need the WA public to support local growers, because if they don't buy our strawberries, many may not be able to put in crops next year", he said.

"This is a serious issue and it just begs the question, how could any right-minded person want to put a baby or child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a terrible act?" she said.

(From left) Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young and Acting Chief Superintendent of state crime command Terry Lawrence address the media regarding the strawberry contamination.

It is believed the consumer had purchased the brand "Delightful" but returned it after a pin was found sticking out of the fruit, the Daily Telegraph reported.

He said retailers had heavily discounted prices, but that was not helping move enough stock.