Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Ex-employee suspected after strawberries spiked with needles

Ex-employee suspected after strawberries spiked with needles

Photo from a Facebook Post by Joshua Gane showing the needle he found in a punnet of Woolworths strawberries bought from Strathpine, Queensland on September 9, 2018.

Queensland Health alerted South Australia's health department Friday afternoon advising Donnybrook-branded strawberries had become the third brand of strawberries linked to the contamination.

The two brands affected by the original incident, Berry Obsession and Berrylicious, came from the same farm.

ACT chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly said no contaminated Berry Liscious or Berry Obsession strawberries had been reported in the territory, but encouraged caution.

An investigation is underway as more and more punnets of strawberries are discovered with needles found embedded in them.

"Kids chuck them in so not sure what both brands were.only complaint was tonight from "Delightful" strawberries", she said.

Chantal Faugeras said three needles were found in three strawberries when her 10-year-old child tried to eat them.

The supermarket chain said it removed the affected brands from its produce departments.

Police have urged anyone who finds strawberries containing the needles to contact Policelink for further advice on 131 444.

"It's quite safe to buy them but just cut them up and check there isn't anything in there that shouldn't be in there", she said.

"We found 3 pins inside 3 strawberries", Ms Faugeras wrote.

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"Please be careful and crush them up before eating or just chuck them out".

NSW Police have added to Queensland Police's warning over the sabotaged fruit.

In a follow-up statement released on Facebook Thursday, the group said the strawberries were seemingly "interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased".

"Woolworths takes food safety very seriously and we are looking into these claims with our supplier", it said in a statement.

A Queensland man posted this photo of a strawberry with a needle in it after reporting his friend swallowed one.

Australians have been warned to cut fresh strawberries before biting into them after several people found sewing needles hidden inside the fruit.

It's unclear if Ms Faugeras' discovery is related to the earlier incidents or a potential copycat.

Detective Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told media that while the Strawberry Growers Association said they believed that disgruntled ex-employee may be responsible for the needles, police are "not agreeing with that at all at this point in time".

AAP is seeking confirmation from NSW police whether the latest discovery is under investigation.

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious. The Warmuran farm which supplied the berries under the brand names Berry Obsession and Berry Licious, was inspected by Queensland police and Australian Border Force officers on Thursday.

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