Australian state offers AU$100000 reward as strawberries sabotaged with needles

Australians warned to cut up strawberries after people report finding needles inside

Warning over needles in strawberries

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

Health officials in Queensland confirmed the Donnybrook strawberry supplier had been hit with three credible complaints, prompting a call for retailers to immediately remove the company's fruit from sale.

"The contamination relates to what appears to be sewing needles and pins inserted in strawberries".

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

The incidents have been piling up, with contaminated strawberries found with needles purchased at supermarkets in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Products sold under those labels have been pulled from shelves but it is unclear just how big the health issue has become with punnets being sold across Australia.

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

Three punnets of Donnybrook strawberries have also been sabotaged.

Ms Faugeras shared the discovery on Facebook and was met with shock and outrage, with commenters questioning "what is wrong with people?" and saying the unsafe saga was "getting crazy".

Another said the fruit were still being stocked at the Coles Wingham branch on Friday morning.

"Sent my 7 year old to school with this brand strawberries this morning. Just phoned the school after a friend had warned me & the office ladies are straight onto it thank god", another said.

Mother Chantal Faugeras uploaded a video of her uncovering the second and third pin after her daughter had bitten down onto the first.

The spokesperson said: 'The safety of our customers is our priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice'.

People in possession of the brands in question should refrain from using them and strawberries from other companies "should be cut up" for safe measure, police said in the update, quoting Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young.

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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