Australian state offers $98450 reward over strawberries sabotaged with needles

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South Australian police meanwhile said that they were advising members of the public to check punnets of Mal's Black Label strawberries following a report of a needle found inside the fruit on Sunday morning. No injuries have been reported.

New Zealand imports strawberries from Australia during the off-season in this market.

"People need to slice their fruit prior to consumption and please contact police immediately if you find any contaminated fruit", South Australia Police said.

Queensland police have issued a $100,000 reward for information.


Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has also ordered the food safety watchdog to investigate Queensland's handling of the strawberry spiking saga. The ABC said Saturday wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production.

"The suspected copycat incident, reported at a supermarket in Gatton, involves the discovery of a thin metal object in a punnet of strawberries", police said.

It was pretty serious for some people as one man had to be taken to hospital for emergency medical attention after swallowing part of a needle.

Vice-president of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, Adrian Schultz, says what started with a single act of "commercial terrorism" has brought a multi-million-dollar industry to its knees.


Both of New Zealand's biggest supermarket chains decided on Monday to halt Australian strawberry orders for now, even though the country's Ministry of Primary Industries confirmed none of the contaminated strawberry brands had made it on to shop shelves.

These include Donnybrook strawberries and those sold by the Woolworths Group under the Berry Obsession and Berry Licious names.

"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.

"As an industry we are sure that (the needles) are not coming from the farm, but we're trying to get confidence into consumers that when they buy ... strawberries, that there isn't going to be anything other than strawberries in there and they're safe to eat", Handasyde told ABC.


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