Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Australia strawberry scare: Woolworths halts sewing needle sales

Australia strawberry scare: Woolworths halts sewing needle sales

Woolworths said the safety of its customers was its top priority and that pulling sewing needles from its shelves was a safety measure.

One person - a child - has been arrested on suspicion of putting needles in strawberries.

The scare has prompted a series of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries.

Needles have also been discovered in an apple and a banana, NSW Police confirmed on Tuesday.

"All existing stock and new stock coming in will all be going through the scanner, punnet by punnet, tray by tray, then each tray will be sealed with a security sticker".

The pin has been seized by detectives who say they are co-operating with other jurisdictions in investigating the incident.

The latest contamination scare comes as authorities across the country investigate more than 100 reports of tampered fruit.

He has called on parliament to raise the sentence for those caught contaminating fruit from 10 to 15 years in jail. The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because of his age, confessed to putting the sewing needles in strawberries as a prank and is not believed to be the culprit behind other fruit contaminations in the region, New South Wales police authorities told ABC News.

Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane on September 14
Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane on September 14

As the government attempts to pass the laws before parliament rises on Thursday, Littleproud launched a savage attack on the strawberry saboteurs.

And another young boy was arrested in New South Wales on Wednesday after admitting he put needles in strawberries as a "prank".

Consumers in Queensland were the first to report finding needles embedded inside strawberries.

The news follows Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's warning to copycat perpetrators that they would face harsh penalties under the legislation he would introduce Thursday.

Six strawberry brands have been recalled nationally.

Under Section 13 of the Food Act 1983, any party involved in importing, distributing, storing or selling food containing toxic, damaging or harmful to health shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or a maximum imprisonment of 10 years or both, upon conviction.

Now there are reports a needle was found inside a mango.

Earlier, three Australian state has announced a reward of 100 thousand Australian dollars (71 700 USA dollars) for information which may help in the investigation of this crime.

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