Australia strawberry needle scare: here’s what we know so far

Needle strawberry australia

7 News YoutubeA needle in a strawberry

Australia's Department of Health ordered a review into the handling of strawberries after fruit containing sewing needles was found in supermarkets across the country.

Police in NSW have made an arrest in relation to the needles being found in strawberries across the country, saying that a "young boy" had admitted to putting needles in the fruit. It's not amusing. You're putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk and you're scaring children.

A Woolworths spokesperson told the ABC contaminated strawberries had been removed from shelves and advised customers to return any they had in their possession for a full refund.

Punnets of strawberries sabotaged with needles have been found in seven Australian states and in New Zealand, according to authorities.

"That's how seriously I take this", Mr Morrison said.

"I don't care if you've got a gripe with a company, I don't care whether you've got a gripe with your fellow worker, this is a very serious thing", he said.

Mr Morrison also announced $1 million in federal funding to assist the response to the crisis.

"We are wanting to see more food safety officials on the ground to work with our state and territory counterparts to make sure when they request a recall, that we fast-track that and that we're absolutely investing in increased methods of detection".

From 9am on Wednesday all fresh strawberries being exported from Australia must be metal-contaminant free.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart confirmed officers were investigating an incident.

Others fear the rising number of cases is down to copycats.

One man in the state of Western Australia and a girl in South Australia reported finding needles in their strawberries in the past two days, according to police.

What started out as a health issue impacting two Sunshine Coast suppliers has spread to an entire industry with farmers now forced to stand down staff and dump their produce by the truckload.

New South Wales on Wednesday became the third Australian state to offer an A$100,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of any individual who contaminates a food source.

Superintendent Doherty urged the community to continue to report any incidences of fruit contamination to police.

Asked about the mood among Victorian growers ahead of the harvest, Mr Calle said: "They are anxious that this is going to impact us when we start, that people are not going to buy strawberries".

"The simple point here is that on a larger scale, sabotage has been recently conceived to include sabotage of infrastructure that allows for the provision of electricity or water to Australian citizens, because they are essential to our citizens wellbeing and therefore our national security", he said.

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