Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

Australia searches for culprit hiding sewing needles in strawberries

It's a crime so odd that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

They have yet to reveal possible motives but the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said a disgruntled former worker might be responsible.

ABC News reported on Saturday that wholesale prices have halved to 50 Australian cents per punnet below the cost of production in Western Australia, where strawberries crops are now peaking, with growers forced to dump tonnes of the fruit.

"Strawberries are a great fruit, and people should continue to buy them, but everyone should simply cut them up".

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Reports out of three Aussie states have strawberry lovers checking their fresh fruit carefully.

One man was taken to hospital after eating a strawberry with a needle inside.

In Australia, someone is placing sewing needles inside strawberries - endangering those who eat them and sending panic across strawberry markets as prices plummet and government officials scramble to find a culprit.

NSW Police said in a statement late Friday that it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat as the products have yet to be forensically examined.

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"Whereas we would normally be selling 30 tonnes a day of locally grown strawberries to WA markets, it has dropped to 20 tonnes".

A fifth case of strawberry needle contamination has been discovered in NSW, with police warning Maitland residents to be cautious after pins were discovered in a punnet of Wallace Road Berries bought at Coles Green Hills on Wednesday. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'. "It is a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", said Terry Lawrence, Queensland acting chief superintendent.

Queensland is a major strawberry producer in a national industry worth more than A$130 million a year.

"How could any right-minded person want to put a baby or a child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a terrible act?" she asked.

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